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American Record Guide: (01/2018) 
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Reviewer: Peter Loewen

In light of historical testimony concerning Hildegard’s ability to play the psaltery, Kabatkova takes license to improvise zither and harp accompaniments to her chants. But this is hardly without precedent; performers have for some time now been taking liberties with Hildegard’s music. Perhaps the most striking example is Richard Souther’s 1994 recording, Vision: the Music of Hildegard von Bingen (EMI 52462). The Tiburtina Ensemble does not go nearly as far as Souther’s rock beat and world music sounds, nor do they follow the time-honored tradition (since the early 1980s) of singing Hildegard’s chants with drone and reverberation. The program consists of chants and anonymous conductus—that is, chordal harmonizations of Latin songs composed in Paris around the 13th Century. The voices sound beautiful. When singing in unison, they are of such a single mind that it is as though one were hearing a single voice. Their musical phrasing follows the cadence of the text and melodic structure. Instrumental accompaniments contribute to Hildegard’s rhetoric by affecting the volume and rhythmic speed, and by adding contrapuntal density to the chant to emphasize evocative moments in the text. The most attractive characteristic of conductus is the undulating sequence of chords, juxtaposing consonance with unexpected dissonance. It is liberating, as though dissonance were used for the sake of its own expressive color. ‘Deus Misertus Hominis’ is a case in point. The way singers phrase the music to emphasize harmonic color brings out the rhetorical properties of the work. Texts and notes are in English.

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