hildegard's jig



for violin and viola



first performance

Heath Quartet - Oliver Heath (violin); Gary Pomeroy (viola) - at Dartington Hall, Dartington International Summer School & Festival on Friday 26th August, 2016


programme note

for Judith Weir

As Hildegard of Bingen became more celebrated throughout Europe, she successfully persuaded the Catholic Church to allow her to form her own her own monastery in 1165. Rather than being a place of confinement, it became her seat of power as she developed a unique female voice. Through her writing she presented a radical, alternative view of the medieval, including that of the female body that was liberated from dominant notions of sexuality. A poet, musician, scientist and a nun of the Benedictine Order, Hildegard was a true maverick, however devout, of her time.

This work for violin and viola exploits Hildegard’s maverick nature by marrying her responsorial ‘O vis aeternitatis’ with a ’jig’ dance constantly battling with 3-time, a musical construct that would have been considered rather worldly and exclusively for pagan ritual. -njd