MATRIXSYNTH: Vermona '14/Hildegard von Bingen: "O Pastor Animarum"

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Vermona '14/Hildegard von Bingen: "O Pastor Animarum"

Published on Feb 10, 2019 Kris Lennox

"Hildegard's fantastic 'O Pastor Animarum', here performed on the Vermona '14. Stunning tone. Information that may be of interest: 'Gregorian' refers to Pope Gregory: not a musician himself, but it was thanks to him that we now have written music. He was aware the problems created by trying to memorise numerous melodies, hence the want for the codification of music.

In its initial stages, Gregorian chant was monosyllabic (one note per syllable). All notes were also sung at the same volume. The reason being: no word was considered less/more important than any other - and the music was to reflect this.

To the modern ear, this can sound 'empty', given (culturally) we are used to very thick textures, and 'emotion' in music is normally equated with large dynamic variation (at least since the Romantic era).

Many contemporary performances of early Gregorian chant drift into the contemporary vein i.e dynamic variation etc. In the strictest sense, these performances are inauthentic. Nice to listen to, of course - but inauthentic to the performance practice of the time.

To my ears, plainsong + synth is a winner of a combination.

PS you may also notice that the synth is tuned below A440 (you'll see the 'master tune' dial is below 12 o' clock); A440 is a relatively recent adoption, hence abandoning this for a tuning more accurately representing the pitch of the era.

I'm thinking of giving a live performance of Gregorian chant on the Vermona in the near future; if it comes to fruition, I'll mention as/when.

All best

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