The Rhine turned crimson when the royal princess Ursula and her eleven thousand companions were slaughtered by the Huns. Many centuries later, Hildegard of Bingen composed a plainchant office in Ursula’s honour and sent a copy to the Abbey of Villers. The singers of Psallentes♀ sing from this famous manuscript (now housed in Dendermonde).
Hildegard von Bingen has the magical ability to reach out and speak to us across the centuries. An avant-garde visionary of her day, the depth and range of her music lends itself to modern re-imaginings. Sequentiae Hildegardenses was written over a period of 12 years in a special collaboration between the composer Hugh Collins Rice and the medieval ensemble Mediva. Collins Rice, who has often been drawn to the ideas and techniques of early music, was inspired by Mediva s medieval instruments and developed a musical language for Sequentiae Hildegardenses which remains authentic and expressive in a 21st-century context, whilst also illuminating the 12th-century music of Hildegard. His music references the serene world of Hildegard's own compositions, but also reflects the darker strands in her writings.
…The solemn majesty of the music is hard to miss: Slowly chiming church bells over a hauntingly beautiful chorus at the beginning of 'O Jerusalem' set the tone. Yet despite its seriousness, there is a joyful energy within. This sense pervades the piece, giving the music a buoyant quality within its medieval mode.