June 11, 2021
Laura@SeraphicFire.org | 305.692.0201
Seraphic Fire’s Complete Recording of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo virtutum out June 11, 2021
The release will be the first recording of the full 12th century masterpiece to include the complete accompanying gradual “Qui sunt hi”
The humanity of the work came through despite the distance of centuries…Quigley seemed to respect the original while doing his best to recreate how it must have felt to performers and audiences at the time.” – South Florida Classical Review on Seraphic Fire’s November 2019 performance of Ordo virtutum
MIAMI – On June 11, the GRAMMY®-nominated professional vocal ensemble Seraphic Fire will release Hildegard of Bingen’s Ordo virtutum on its Seraphic Fire Media (SFM) label. Composed by 1151 CE, Ordo virtutum tells the story of a wandering soul, Anima, and her struggles between the forces of good and evil. The album will be the first complete, historically accurate recording of Ordo virtutum to include the gradual “Qui sunt hi” in its entirety.
“St. Hildegard of Bingen’s Ordo virtutum (variously translated as ‘The Play of the Virtues,’ ‘The Rite of the Virtues,’ and so on) is the only music drama from the Middle Ages for which we have a named composer,” writes Dr. Honey Meconi, author of the 2018 biography Hildegard of Bingen, professor of musicology at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester, and artistic advisor to Seraphic Fire for this project. “With this recording, Seraphic Fire presents the world premiere of the complete version of Ordo virtutum on disc.”
Hildegard of Bingen, born to a noble family in 1098, began to experience religious visions as a young child. At the age of 14 she was enclosed (literally bricked into a cell) with the anchorite nun Jutta. On Jutta’s death in 1136, when Hildegard was 38, she was made magistra (leader) of her monastic community; eventually she left confinement and founded a new abbey. In the 43 years of her monastic leadership, Hildegard would emerge as one of the leading thinkers of her age. She made significant contributions to philosophy, music, theology, and the natural sciences, and corresponded with kings and popes. Remarkable for a woman at the time, Hildegard preached in public from the pulpit, and was widely recognized as an intellectual and spiritual force. Hildegard was canonized (declared a Saint) by the Catholic Church in 2012.Stabat Mater.
The musical roles of Ordo virtutum are exclusively female. The Devil, who faces off against the heavenly Virtues in a battle for Anima’s soul, is the only male character in the play, and is unable to sing; he can only shout. Luthien Brackett sings the role of Anima; Clara Osowski portrays Humility, Queen of the Virtues; and James K. Bass gives voice to the song-less Devil. Virtues, Embodied Souls, and Patriarchs and Prophets are sung by the women of Seraphic Fire, and artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley conducts.
“The music of Hildegard of Bingen’s Ordo virtutum is, at its musical core, a celebration of women and their voices,” says Seraphic Fire artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley. “Written for her own community of nuns, Hildegard created the music of the Ordo and its characters for women she knew, led, and sang with daily. It is a great joy for every member of Seraphic Fire to have the opportunity to perform and record this bedrock piece of music history, and we hope that it will encourage more performances of the Ordo in the United States.”
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179): Ordo virtutum
Conductor: Patrick Dupre Quigley
Artistic Advisor: Honey Meconi
Chorus Master: Sara Guttenberg
Artistic Production: Alexis Aimé
Anima, the Soul: Luthien Brackett
Humility, Queen of the Virtues: Clara Osowski
The Devil: James K. Bass
Nola Richardson, Knowledge of God, Patience, Embodied Souls; Margaret Lias, Charity, Hope, Patriarchs and Prophets, Introit precentor; Amanda Crider, Embodied Souls, Fear of God, World Rejection; Kate Maroney, Obedience, Embodied Souls; Virginia Warnken, Faith, Discipline, Patriarchs and Prophets soloist; Sara Guttenberg, Chastity, Shamefastness, Embodied Souls, percussion; Arwyn Myers, Innocence, Embodied Souls; Molly Quinn, Heavenly Love, Discretion, Embodied Souls; Sarah Moyer, Mercy, Embodied Souls; Rebecca Myers, Victory, Embodied Souls; James K. Bass, Patriarchs and Prophets precentor, Epilogue; Luthien Brackett, Patriarchs and Prophets; Clara Osowski, Embodied Souls; Patrick Dupre Quigley, Epilogue
1 Introit for the Dedication of a Church: Terribilis est locus iste
5 Part III: The Soul Returns
3 Part I: The Soul Invokes the Virtues
6 Part IV: The Devil is Bound
4 Part II: Enter the Devil
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ABOUT SERAPHIC FIRE
Seraphic Fire is an ensemble dedicated to the concert performance of the breadth of history’s musical works for the human voice. Lauded by Gramophone for its “mellifluous, crystalline artistry,” Seraphic Fire has gained an international reputation for dynamic, cutting-edge, and historically informed programming that encompasses both secular and sacred literature. The ensemble’s roster is populated by performers, teachers, and scholars who represent the best of the American school of vocal and instrumental training. Established in 2002, Seraphic Fire is led by its founder, Patrick Dupre Quigley. Throughout its two-decade history, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered works by American composers including Alvaro Bermudez, Shawn Crouch, Douglas Cuomo, Sydney Guillaume, James Kallembach, Susan LaBarr, Ileana Perez Velazquez, Jake Runestad, and Christopher Theofanidis. With Ordo virtutum, Seraphic Fire will have released 16 recordings on its Seraphic Fire Media label. Several of the ensemble’s recordings have topped the classical music charts. Two – Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem and A Seraphic Fire Christmas – have received GRAMMY® nominations. Seraphic Fire maintains three core education programs. The Seraphic Fire Youth Initiative, the ensemble’s in-school elementary education program that reaches thousands of public school students in South Florida every year. Seraphic Fire’s Ensemble Artist Program at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music offers a two-year apprentice-style training program for talented undergraduate and graduate level vocalists. Seraphic Fire’s annual Professional Choral Institute, a program designed to prepare students to work in the professional choral music industry, enjoys a residency at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
ABOUT HONEY MECONI
Musicologist Honey Meconi’s many publications include Hildegard of Bingen, the first English language book on Hildegard as composer. She first performed Hildegard as Music Director of a 1982 Ordo virtutum production, one of the first since the Middle Ages, and was corecipient of the American Musicological Society’s 2006 Noah Greenberg Award “for distinguished contribution to the study and performance of early music.” She is Arthur Satz Professor in the University of Rochester’s Department of Music and Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music.
ABOUT PATRICK DUPRE QUIGLEY
Patrick Dupre Quigley has led Seraphic Fire since founding the ensemble in 2002. Passionate about expanding the standard concert repertoire, Quigley has championed historical and contemporary compositions with modern and period ensembles across the United States including The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo virtutum is Quigley’s 16th title on the Seraphic Fire Media label. Quigley has recorded a wide variety of repertoire including canonic works of Johann Sebastian Bach, Claudio Monteverdi, Johannes Brahms and Samuel Barber, melodies of the Iraqi-Jewish cantorial tradition, compositions by American art music composers, vocal works from the United States’ rich and varied folk music traditions, and contemporary Latin pop with international recording artist Shakira.