The virtues/ karitas habundat
a vision of Hildegard of Bingen; cantata for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, violin & organ

William George
Composition Date: 2004
Duration: 00:20:00
Genre: Three Voices, With Chamber Ensemble, , Keyboard / String Bowed

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Organ
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 1 x Mezzo Soprano
  • 1 x Tenor
  • 1 x Violin
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Programme Note:
The Virtues (2004) is based on the third part of the third vision in Hildegard of Bingen’s book of visions, Scivias. In this vision, Hildegard examines the “tower of anticipation” of God’s perfect will. Within each portion of the building Hildegard sees a group of Virtues. The Virtues occupy an important place in her theology; they are not exclusively human qualities but “brilliant stars given by God, which shine forth in human deeds.” The Latin virtus means “energy” or “power” as well as “virtue,” and Hildegard plays on both senses. In effect, a virtue is a divine quality that becomes an operative force in willing souls and fully incarnates itself in right action; it is a synthesis of grace and moral effort. As Hildegard puts it, the Virtues do not work of their own accord, but with the cooperation of the person who has received them from God. The first three Virtues in this tower represent the initial manifestations of the ascetic life. Celestial Love, Discipline and Modesty. There follow two christological Virtues: Mercy (associated with the Virgin Mary and Christ’s birth) and Victory (connected with his conquest of Satan). Hildegard’s allegorical technique further characterizes the Virtues by assigning intricate symbolism to their iconography - colors, garments and attributes. In addition, each Virtue utters a self-defining motto. Bookending this cantata is Karitas Habundat, based on a plainchant composed by Hildegard. Heard first in the violin, it also ends the piece in a version for vocal trio. The text for The Virtues was adapted by Richard Gleaves, in collaboration with the composer, from english translations of Hildegard’s original latin.

Premiere Information:
2004, Saint Peters Church, New York, New York New Music New York: Megan Weston, soprano Anna Tonna, mezzo-soprano William George, tenor Vita Wallace, violin Thomas Schmidt, organ

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 3205 G349vi
  • Genre:
  • Three Voices, With Chamber Ensemble, , Keyboard / String Bowed
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • March 30, 2012
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (43 p.) ;
    43 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Parts page count: 3
    1 violin part (3 p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: English
  • Additional Information:
  • Text by Richard Gleaves; adapted from EMSciviasCLOSE_EM by Hildegard of Bingen

    Commissioned by New Music New York
    Karitas Habundat
    The Virtues
    Karitas Habundat
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