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Program: #09-40, Air Date: 09/28/09

Sequentia and the young ensemble Ars Choralis of Cologne recreate devotional music from medieval German convents, many for the first time on disc.

Ben Bagby, director of Sequentia, sent along this note: 

I'm honored that you decided to play this utter sleeper of a CD. Some little details:

- The impetus to make this recording came from Jeffrey Hamburger, art history prof. at Harvard, who co-curated the exhibition in Bonn and Essen in 2004. I basically tried to record pieces which were from some of the many manuscripts (including Hildegard) on display. There was also one single concert given, in the Essen Cathedral.

- Tracks 2 and 15 feature the sublime singing of Lena Susanne Norin (and in fact, track 15, a text from the Song of Songs, was a piece that Barbara Thornton used to sing in concert but never recorded). 

- Track 6 is something I transcribed from a 12th century fragment kept in the Stadtarchiv Köln, which disastrously collapsed last winter, losing thousands of precious documents. I haven't yet learned if our fragment survived.

- Track 9 is a beautiful little 2-voice piece which I had to reconstruct based on the 19th century engraving of a since-lost medieval ms. in Strasbourg (Franco-Prussian War: the city was bombarded in 1871 and the library -- Sarajevo-like -- was burned). 

- Since most of music mss. on display were chantbooks and most nuns passed their days and nights in chanting psalmody, I wanted very much to include some psalmody singing (anathema to record companies!) in the CD. Since this CD was never sold outside the museum, it hardly matters. 

Our recording was for several years one of medieval music's best-kept secrets, that is, until you came along!

For more information on this ensemble:

 01 - Resurrexi     [5:06]
Introitus (Proper of the Easter Sunday Mass) + Psalm 138/139
[Osnabrück, Bistumsarchiv, Codex Gisle aus dem Zisterzienserinnenkloster Rulle, um 1320]
Kloster Rulle - solistin: Agnethe Christensen

02 - Amo Christum     [3:28]
Responsorium for the Feast of St. Agnes (21.1)
[Karslruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek; St. Georgen 5, Antiphonar aus Wonnental, um 1300]
Wonnental - s: Lena Susanne Norin

03 - Dominus dabit     [3:24]
Communio (Fisrt Sunday in Advent) + Psalm 84/85
[Düsseldorf, Universitäts- und  Landesbibliothek, Hs. D3]
Essen ~ St Gallen - Laon - s: Maria Jonas

04 - Beatus Januarius     [2:49]
Antiphon + Psalm 98/99
[Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preuß, Mus. ms. 40047, Quedlinburg, 11. jh]
Quedlinburg - s: Agnethe Christensen

05 - Liber Generationis Jesu Christi     [7:19]
Lectio - Gospel of Matthew, Christmas Eve
[Münster, Staatsarchiv, Ms. 3312 und Köln, Historisches Archiv GA89b]
Frauenstift Schildesche, Bielefeld ~ Kölner Doom - s: Lena Susanne Norin

06 - Audite, o lucis filie     [4:04]
Antiphon from the Epithalamium (Bridal Song) of the 'Speculum Virginum', s. XII
[Köln, Historisches Archiv, Einzelblatt D1 82]
St. Marien in Andernach, bei Köln
s: Agnethe Christensen, Maria Jonas, Katherine Hill

07 - Ave mers sterne gotes muoter     [2:42]
Hymn for the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25)
[Wien, Österreichische Nationalbiblibothek, Cod. Pal. Vind. 2682]
Wien ~ Salzburg - s: Maria Jonas

08 - Hildegard von BINGEN (1098-1179). O splendidissima gemma     [4:15]
Antiphon for Maria
[Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek, Ms. 2 'Rupertberger Riesenkodex', 12.Jh]
Rupertsberg - s: Lena Susanne Norin

09 - Herrad von HOHENBURG (12th c.). Sol oritur occasus nescius     [2:04]
("The sun rises, the one that never sets")
[Strasbourg, Bibiliotèque National et Universitaire, Herrad von Hohenburg, 'Hortus Deliciarum', 12.Jh.]
St. Odilie im Elsass - s: Lena Susanne Norin & Agnethe Christensen

10 - Verbum dei deo natum     [8:29]
Sequence for St. John the Evangelist
[Zurich, Schweizerisches Landesmuseum und Frauenfled, Museum des Kantons Thurgau,
Graduale von St. Katherinental, ca. 1312]
St. Katherinental - solistin: Agnethe Christensen

11 - Herrad von HOHENBURG. Veri floris sub figura     [3:49]
Conductus in 1, 2 & 3 voices
[Strasbourg, Bibiliotèque National et Universitaire, Herrad von Hohenburg, 'Hortus Deliciarum', 12.Jh.]
St. Odilie im Elsass - s: Lena Susanne Norin, Agnethe Christensen, Maria Jonas

12 - Johannes SCHERL (active 1482). In des hailgen herren sant gallen statt     [4:12]
Cantio (fragment)
[Tübingen, Universiätsbibliothek, Md 456, ca. 1482]
Hl. Katharina in St. Gallen - s: Maria Jonas

13 - Heinrich von Meißen (c.1260-1318), FRAUENLOB. Ich will verbannen und verban     [6:58]
sangspruchstrophe - Wonnental
[Donaueschingen, Fürstliche Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek, Hs. 120 15.Jh.]
Wonnental, Breisgau - s: Agnethe Christensen

14 - Resurrexit dominus     [3:02]
Strophic Easter song; convent founded 1227.
[Kloster Wienhausen, Klosterarchiv, 'Das Wienhäuser Liederbuch', spätes 15.Jh.]
Wienhausen, bei Celle - s: Maria Jonas

15 - Dilectus meus     [4:16]
(see above--manuscript collected under Abbess Katharina von Hoya, 1433-70)
[Kloster Wienhausen, Klosterarchiv, 'Das Wienhäuser Liederbuch', spätes 15.Jh.]
Wienhausen - s: Lena Susanne Norin

16 - Ich var zuo dir Maria rein     [4:07]
(from the nuns of St. Clara)
[Stuttgart, Landesbibliothek, Pfullinger Liederanhang, co. theol. et philos. 4to, 190,
melodía: Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Lochamer Liederbuch, spätes 15.Jh.]
St. Clara in Pfullingen, bei Reutlingen
s: Maria Jonas, Katherine Hill, Cora Schmeiser
Harfe: Benjamin Bagby

17 - Puer natus hodie     [2:26]
Introit from the Mass for Christmas
[Kloster Wienhausen, Klosterarchiv, 'Das Wienhäuser Liederbuch', spätes 15.Jh.]
Wienhausen - solistin: Agnethe Christensen

Composer Info

Hildegard von BINGEN (1098-1179), Herrad von HOHENBURG (12th c.), Johannes SCHERL (active 1482), Heinrich von Meißen (c.1260-1318),