Hildegard's Dream
for soprano & computer
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Total duration: 12' 30"

Hildegard von Bingen, the legendary visionary, composer, poet and religious figure of the Middle Ages was continually plagued by illness throughout most of her life. In 1141, these afflictions receded and gave way to a series of religious visions which were recorded in the book "Know the Ways". Amidst these vision, Hildegard had a dream, too awesome, too frightening, too beautiful to be recorded or even to be acknowledge to anybody, perhaps not even to herself. It was a musical dream: the armies of the Islam are overrunning Europe. Hildegard is attending a performance of one of her vocal compositions which the Lord had 'revealed' to her in one of her visions. The piece is being sung by 80 nuns of her own convent. Half way through the performance the nuns start singing long notes which unfold micro tonal intervals and motives which no longer speak of God but suggest the forbidden modes of the infidel. The original melismatic rhythms had now turned into figurations with no clear meter, the text, still in Latin, features both the names of Christ and Allah in it. The dream would be an intolerable nightmare if the music were not so overwhelmingly beautiful. Hidegard is suddenly woken up by her own singing.

From the technical point of view Hildegard's Dream could be described as a study on the relationship between melody and timbre in a micro-tonal context.

Hildegard's Dream was jointly commissioned by the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris and by Frances Lynch with funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britain. The computer part was created at the composer's private studio in London.