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Their Hildegard collection, mostly of lesser-known pieces of Hildegard (but with three anonymous polyphonic conductus and ending with a psalm), puts the focus on two aspects of the ensemble: the marvellously controlled unison of the 10 singers, flexible and at the same time energetic; and the nicely differentiated vocal colours of the individual soloists. In addition they have two medieval harps (played by Kabátková and the other leading figure in the group, Hana BlaΩíková) as well as a dulce melos played by the Austrian virtuoso Margit Übellacker. Kabátková’s booklet note describes these as ‘let us say, Old Testament plucked string instruments’; but it would be fairer to say that they are well documented from Hildegard’s day and are beautifully deployed, essentially with triadic figures above a drone (on the final) and with the dulce melos lightly decorating the vocal lines.
That is all to say that the music
of Hildegard is presented responsibly but with a newly minted colour to the
discreet instrumental accompaniments. It is an eminently worthwhile addition to
the Hildegard discography.
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