Ensemble Tiburtina (Tschechien): „Ego sum homo“ – Barbora Kabatkova
The concert program presents music of the medieval visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179), one of the most sublimely and extravagantly expressive women of the Middle Ages. Her influence in various spheres of human activity, including music, has been enormous. The importance of Hildegard was acknowledged by church authorities during her lifetime, but not until the 20th century has she begun to be seen as an established authority in such fields as mysticism, music, literature, and medicine. The interpretation of her music is a great challenge for any musician interested in medieval music.
The body of compositions by Hildegard is very large. We have decided to perform only a small part of her monophonic chants from the manuscript known as the Riesencodex, containing about 77 pieces. These are in fact very complex, melismatic and masterly compositions – antiphons, responsories, hymns and sequences. The texts of the chants are also by Hildegard, thematically dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary and other saints venerated in the Rhineland, where Hildegard lived for her whole life. Hildegard’s music is written on a staff in German plainchant notation but seems to call for the possibility of improvisation. Consequently, we are using medieval stringed instruments to improvise an accompaniment to the monophonic vocal pieces. The polyphonic pieces on the program come from various 12th and 13th century European manuscripts.
Example – “Conductus Deus misertus hominis”
“Tiburtina”: The sibyl of Tibur – and of Bingen
Throughout the whole Middle Ages, the ancient Sibyl of Tibur near Rome was famous, a seer who has proclaimed Christ’s birth and prophesied the end of time. Thus, her oracles have been “updated” over and over again to suit occurrences of the respective present time. Also Hildegard was regarded as a “rebirth” of the Tiburtina: how and why the ancient Sibyl was able to become the model of the Binger prophetess, is currently explored in the Binger Museum in the larger historical context.