By Joel Friedman
World Premiere: All Things Are Set Ablaze by ModernMedieval!
On 08, May 2018 | In News | By Joel Friedman
What do you get if you mix 1 composer (Joel Phillip Friedman) with 1 stellar vocal trio (ModernMedieval Trio Of Voices) with 1 prescient mystic, visionary, and polymath (Hildegard von Bingen) in 1 storied museum (National Museum of Women In the Arts)? 1 very special program – The Living Word – featuring works by Hildegard herself, Caroline Shaw, Caleb Burhans, Daniel Thomas Davis, Jaqueline Horner-Kwiatek, and the world premiere of my All Things Are Set Ablaze! The program is repeated the following night, May 10th, at the Virginia Arts Festival. Here’s my description of the piece:
“I imagine a modern Hildegard von Bingen, rising up and returning to tell us “you have lost your way and face destruction, listen to me now…or face the consequences.” She warns, in her own words: “All Things Are Set Ablaze… From Me!” My invented Hildegard is a mixture of the real and prescient woman of many enormous talents and startling visions, Wagner’s Valkyriewarrior Brünnhilde, the future prophesying Oracle of Delphi, and perhaps even a badass Wonder Woman. Most of the words I set are Hildegard’s own, in English translations by Medieval Latin scholars Nathaniel Campbell and Barbara Newman. If Hildegard’s writings initially had…a slightly different context… they do speak with potent currency today. I have added some non-Hildegard text: short cautionary Latin fragments (e.g. “Monitum… Praedictum… Ignifer… Audi me” – “A warning… Foretelling…Fire-bearing… Listen to me!), as well as, fittingly, a single line from Wagner’s opera Die Walküre– the famous Valkyrie war cry (“Hojotoho! hojotoho! heiaha! Heiaha!”). If Hildegard were to return today I imagine she would identify with Brünnhilde and join her singing those spirited words! You will hear All Things Are Set Ablazestarting at its middle, slower section. The opening music returns at the end, so you will get to hear some of that. The work has been trimmed to be proportional with the rest of the program.”