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Composer Kitty Brazelton was faced with a dilemma when she chose to set Act II. The Hildegurls had agreed on a 15-minute quota per act and Act II ran almost three quarters of an hour in its original form.

Faced with the sin of editing the work of Hildegard von Bingen, she found two solutions. The first was to carefully analyze the melodic and harmonic (modal) progressions through the act to find cutpoints which might not damage the flow of the piece. This led to the amazing discovery that Hildegard actually used modulation. Brazelton tried to bring out the sequence by laying a cantus firmus (see discussion Excerpt 2) whose pitches follow the modal order of each chant starting on D an culminating climactically on C a seventh above then closing in the original D Dorian.

You may not understand this music jargon or even be able to pick it out the bass progression, but you can feel it in this excerpt from the climax of Act II during the section sung by Victory.

You also hear the second solution Brazelton found—being from Manhattan—if you run out of space, build upwards—in this case time is space. This excerpt opens with Brazelton's pre-recorded voice singing the part of Innocence. Before she is done, Elaine Kaplinsky (live) begins the response. Before they are done, Brazelton's pre-recorded voice sings Modesty and Eve Beglarian responds live making it a quartet. Then Mercy and Lisa Bielawa. Finally Patience and brazelton herself live. And you have an octet of simultaneous chant.

In the final climactic Victory section, Brazelton invited the Hildegurls to improvise a response in the language and singing style of their choice as the pre-recorded Victory (Brazelton) sings the call. The door-slam drumbeat (see Excerpt 2) heightens and supports the triumphant mood.




Fugite, oves, spurcicias Diaboli!

Flee, my flock, the Devil's filth!


Virtue 1:

Has te succurrente fugiemus.

Because you help us, we shall flee.

Verecundia: Modesty:
Ego obtenebro et fugo
atque conculco omnes spurcicias Diaboli.
I shade myself and hide
until I stamp out all the Devil's filth.
Virtutes: Virtue 2:
Tu es in edificatione celestis Ierusalem,
florens in candidis liliis.
You are part of the creation of the holy city of Jerusalem,
blooming among the shining lilies.
Misericordia: Mercy:
O quam amara est illa duricia que non cedit in mentibus,
misericorditer dolori succurrens!
O how bitter is that hardened conscience which does not yield
with compassion to hasten to help those in pain.
Virtutes: Virtue 3:
O laudabilis mater peregrinorum,
tu semper erigis illos,
atque ungis pauperes et debiles.
O praised mother of pilgrims,
you always encourage them,
and anoint the poor and the weak.
Pacientia: Patience:
Ego sum columpna que molliri non potest I am the pillar which cannot be shaken.
Virtutes: Virtue 4:
O firma que stas in caverna petre O how firm you stand in the cavern of stone.
Victoria: Victory (simultaneously with the Virtues):
Ego Victoria velox et fortis pugnatrix sum
antiquum serpentem conculco.
I am Victory, the swift and strong she-fighter.
The ancient serpent I crush beneath my feet.
Virtutes: Virtues (simultaneously with Victory):
O dulcissima bellatrix, in torrente fonte
qui absorbuit lupum rapacem.

O gloriosa coronata, nos libenter militamus tecum
contra illusorem hunc.
O sweetest she-warrior, in the rushing flood
which swallowed up the rapacious wolf.
O glorious crowned one, we will gladly fight by your side
against this Deceiver.

The 6 Women Creators