A Feather on the Breath of God

A Feather on the Breath of God is an album of sacred vocal music written in the 12th century by the German abbess Hildegard of Bingen, and recorded by British vocal ensemble Gothic Voices with English soprano Emma Kirkby. It was released by the Hyperion Records label in 1982.[2]

A Feather on the Breath of God
Studio album by
RecordedSt Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 14 September 1981
GenreSacred vocal music, plainchant, early music
LabelHyperion Records
ProducerMartin Compton
Gothic Voices chronology
A Feather on the Breath of God
The Garden of Zephirus
Professional ratings
Review scores

Production edit

It was recorded in St. Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, on 14 September 1981.[3][4] The music and Latin texts are from a contemporary medieval manuscript (Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek M52) edited by Dr. Christopher Page, who also directed the recorded performance itself.[3]

Notes edit

It is an album of early medieval plainchant of which the title is taken from a passage in Hildegard's writings in which she describes herself:

Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I '"A feather on the breath of God."[5]

Accolades edit

The album received the Early-Medieval Gramophone Award for 1982–1983.[1][6]

Legacy edit

In 2020, the album was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[7]

The recording of "O Euchari" was sampled on "The Sun Rising" by The Beloved, and "Belfast" by Orbital.

Track listing edit

All compositions (sequences and hymns) written by Hildegard of Bingen.

  1. “Columba aspexit” (5:18)
  2. “Ave, generosa” (4:36)
  3. “O ignis spiritus” (4:48)
  4. “O Ierusalem” (8:02)
  5. “O Euchari” (5:43)
  6. “O viridissima virga” (3:13)
  7. “O presul vere civitatis” (6:12)
  8. “O Ecclesia” (6:11)

Personnel edit

Musicians edit

Recording and production personnel edit

  • Tony Faulkner – recording engineer
  • Martin Compton – recording producer
  • Terry Shannon – front design
  • Edward Perry – executive producer

References edit

  1. ^ a b AllMusic Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. ^ National Recording Registry Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  3. ^ a b Hyperion Records Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  4. ^ A Feather on the Breath of God CD back cover.
  5. ^ A Feather on the Breath of God CD booklet, p. 2.
  6. ^ Presto Classical
  7. ^ "National Recording Registry Class Produces Ultimate 'Stay at Home' Playlist". Library of Congress. March 25, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2020.