AD 1136

AD 1136 (for voice and electronics, 2023)

In 1136, work began on the building of Glasgow Cathedral. In the same year, Hildegard von Bingen was elected to lead her convent in South West Germany. 

Hildegard is one of the best-known composers of her era (I discovered her music many years ago in Emma Kirkby’s fabulous recording A feather on the breath of God), but music was only a part of her amazing life. She was a “visionary, mystic, healer, linguist, poet, artist, musician, playwright, biographer, theologian, preacher and spiritual counsellor(Priscilla Throop) and has been described as the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

In this piece, a soundscape forged from the sound of Glasgow Cathedral’s great bell is interwoven with Hildegard’s writings on gemstones and healing, a letter to a Benedictine monk, her visions, and two of her antiphons, in a series of kaleidoscopic, multi-channel illusions.

The piece was written for Stephanie Lamprea and first performed in the Crypt of Glasgow Cathedral on 28 September 2023 as part of the Glasgow Cathedral Festival.