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I wonder what Magistra Doctor Saint Hildegard von Bingen would make of this recent musical tribute? The ensemble Voca Me, singing sweetly in the main, admits employing ‘imagination and free spirit’ to inform the recital Inspiration: Lieder und Visionen, which confession absolves me from having to say much about their curious harmonies and uneasy drifting accompaniments that not only gild the lily but also slap bling all over it and drench it in perfume. I turned for relief to the Chœur des Pères Norbertins de l’abbaye Saint-Michel, but found small solace in Anthologie: Chant Grégorien et Polyphonie ( Jade 699 753-2). This monastery in Orange County, California, prides itself on a thriving liturgical tradition, but their singing of Palestrina oscillates between the desperately dire and a standard acceptable in a live liturgical context; and, although their chanting proclaims a deep devotional sincerity, I hope they squandered few monastic resources on this effort.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica


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