Prelude & Alleluia

for mezzo-soprano, oboe and harp

Brian Inglis

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for mezzo-soprano, oboe and harp

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Composer Brian Inglis

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Catalogue ID ce-bi1pal1


Hildegard of Bingen’s poetic oeuvre betrays a particular concern with both the concept of virginity as a whole and the archetypal virgin, Mary. For Hildegard, virginity was a concept associated with viriditas, literally ‘greenness’, symbolising virgins’ oneness with the essential virtue of God’s creation.

The poem set here in movement II, with its Alleluia, takes the place of the Gospel Acclamation in the liturgy of the Mass; plainchant settings are typically melismatic. The first line introduces the idea of Mary as a branch of the tree of Jesse; a mediatrix in the sense of being an intercessor with her son, Jesus. Her sacred womb overcame death ‘in the fair flower’ i.e. Christ, who having been given birth by Mary went on to defeat death by rising from it. The ‘illumination of all creatures’ is a reference to the traditional figura of Christ as the light of the world; the ‘sweetest integrity/Of your sealed chastity’ refers to Mary’s virginity.