Album review: Sequentia, Music for Paradise: The Best of Hildegard Von Bingen (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

The 12th century Benedictine Abbess Hildegard of Bingen was a pre-Renaissance renaissance woman, writing on theology, medicine and natural history, communicating with popes and emperors, and founding two convents.

But she's mostly remembered for her large body of choral works, most recently recorded by the ensemble Sequentia on a series of albums through the 1990s, from which has been assembled this compilation. The tone throughout is respectful, whether on solo antiphons like "O Rubor Sanguinis", or more complex pieces such as the sublime "O Jerusalem", bookended here with church bell and accompanied by organistrum, a type of hurdy-gurdy laying down a drone bed behind the choir.

Download: O Jerusalem; O Tu Suavissima Virga; O Vis Aeternitas