Friday, November 18, 2011

Nov. 20 Atheene Dodonpa: Songs of the Anunciation & Advent Season

Atheene Dodonpa, soprano
Early Songs of the Anunciation & Advent Season
(live concert in 3D virtual reality)
Sunday November 20, 2011
12 noon SLT (Pacific Time)
Music Island, Sea Turtle Island

Atheene Dodonpa is the pre-eminent wandering minstrel of Second Life, entertaining townsfolk and castle dwellers alike with authentic music from many cultures delivered in her thrilling soprano, accompanying herself on period instruments and illuminating the audience with warm, engaging, explanatory chat.


Songs of the Annunciation and the Advent Season

4 Early Syrian hymns

  • Yawnu Tlitu (Little Dove, Birth of Christ)
  • Qurbone Qarebun (Prayer of the Priests)
  • Enono nuhro shariro (I´m the true Light)
  • Ayn Qai (People died in faith)

6 songs from the Laudario di Firenze

  • Laude novella (Virgin Mary)
  • Voi ch´amate lo criatore (Virgin Mary´s lament)
  • Novel canto dolce sancto (Apostle Thomas)
  • Peccatrice nominata (Mary Magdalene)
  • Sancto Marco glorioso (Evangelist Mark)
  • Sancto Symeom beato (Simeon who saw the baby Jesus)

3 songs by Hildegard von Bingen

  • O quam preciosa (Virgin Mary)
  • O nobilissima viriditas (Praising the virginity)
  • Mathias sanctus (Evangelist Matthew)

The Florence Laudario is a collection of monophonic hymns dating from the 14th century, and is only one of two extant that include the written music, the other being the Cortona Laudario from the 13th century. The Florence Laudario belonged to the Company of Santo Spirito, an ensemble of “laudesi” (much like a group of cantors, or even a schola), which sung the compline service every evening for the Church of Santo Spirito. A church of any renown had its company of laudesi whose chief job it was to help the congregation sing the hymns, the way we still use cantors today. Hymns were composed with a ritornello (“refrain”) that was easy enough for the congregation to learn. All text, notably, was in the vernacular, not in Latin, again providing the congregation with access to the language. This is probably why these hymns are still around in some version or another. Unlike the Cortonese who kept their laude simple, the laudesi of Florence, being Florentine, of course refined and ornamented their laude such that only trained singers could successfully sing the complex bits. However, the ritornello was always there to return to, and the congregations could, and would, join in.
- Amelia LeClair

HILDEGARD VON BINGEN, (1098-1179), was a remarkable woman, a "first" in many fields. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as "Sybil of the Rhine", produced major works of theology and visionary writings. When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first composer whose biography is known. Clearly a force to
contend with, she wrote books and letters on all of the above topics, traveled widely, and penned what is arguably the first opera in western music, the “Ordo Virtutem”. She founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed. Her music is radically different from the chant that surrounded her: she takes great leaps of fifths followed by fourths frequently (thus spanning an octave), and the expressive writing is not meant for the faint of heart. She obviously had very well trained singers at her disposal. Her poetry is raw and wonderful, and has no known precedent.

Although not yet canonized, Hildegard has been beatified, and is frequently referred to as St. Hildegard. Revival of interest in this extraordinary woman of the middle ages was initiated by musicologists and historians of science and religion. More controversially, Hildegard's music had been adapted and interpreted by the New Age movement, whose music bears some resemblance to Hildegard's ethereal airs.

Her story is important to all students of medieval history and culture and an inspirational account of an irresistible spirit and vibrant intellect overcoming social, physical, cultural, gender barriers to achieve timeless transcendence. For her, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a frequent artistic theme.

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