Cantus

for soprano and organ

Brian Inglis

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Composer Brian Inglis
Composer

Year of Composition

Instrumentation

,

Duration

9'

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-bi1c2

Notes

In its original version for soprano, tenor recorder and chamber organ this was my first creative engagement with the work of the medieval German abbess, theologian, composer and poet Hildegard of Bingen. My Hildegard journey started inauspiciously enough with the rescue of an anthology of her writings from a friend’s waste paper bin at Durham University; it has so far lasted almost a quarter of a century (A Christmas Alleluia, setting Hildegard’s ‘Alleluia for the Virgin’, was completed in 2015) and encompassed songs, an instrumental chamber piece, an opera and an oratorio. I was immediately attracted by the vivid imagery of her language (here in the excellent English translation of Oliver Davies) with its appealing combination of spirituality and sensuality, and inspired to set it to music using some medieval techniques (drone, organum – the original version was titled Cantus Gymellus) but capturing the ecstatic flavour of the text through wide leaps, rhythmic/notational flexibility and microtonal inflections.