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The Independent Culture
Hildegard von Bingen: the "straight pass mix". It had to happen. The 12th-century Benedictine abbess gets the techno treatment on Vision, EMI's latest assault on the cross-over charts. But beneath Richard Souther's New Age washes, "world beat rhythms" and tired drum machines soars a familiar voice - that of Minnesota-born Emily van Evera, solo soprano on the "original" Hildegard album, Hyperion's award-winning 1982 A feather on the breath of God. It's not the first time she's been "sampled". Previously it was used on a TV muesli ad and Hyperion sued. This time, Van Evera got to re-record her bits, although she admits she had no idea of how they'd end up. "It was a real leap of faith." And while she's happy with the idea of one composer re-working another ("it's an old, old tradition"), she concedes that EMI could have signalled the extent of the adaptation more clearly on the cover - "Though you'd have to be pretty doltish not to realise when you listen that this is not medieval." There's no shortage of dolts in the USA where Vision has already sold 200,000 copies, just 50,000 short of the total chalked up by the Hyperion disc in the past 13 years. Chart success has given Van Evera a new celebrity. "I just turned down the Big Breakfast," she says. "Can you believe it, they wanted me to dress up as a nun."

Stockhausen may have fallen behind with his schedule to complete all seven days of Licht by the end of the century - Sunday, the seventh day, is now due in 2002 - but you need to act fast if you want to catch the premiere of Friday in Leipzig. Booking has just opened - for March 1996.