The Hildegard Triptych
is a challenging set of works set for double choir, and represents just one part of a significant body of choral and organ works inspired by the great medieval mystic. O virtus sapientiae
recalls the music of Hildegard as well as the text, opening with an exchange of organum duplum phrases which rapidly expands to encompass the whole choir, decorated with florid melisma. The extraordinary pan-tonal opening of Caritas abundat
brings the meditative works of Messiaen immediately to mind, invoking a tantalizing vision of a thousand years of mysticism squeezed into three minutes of music; and O vis aeternitatis
, announcing itself with a prolonged bare fifth, opens the set in a medieval idiom, this time with the homophony of the conductus style.
from notes by Gabriel Crouch © 2011