... of Hildegard, for solo horn
Brianna Nay, a graduate student at the time of writing this piece, planned to perform Hildegard von Bingen’s O Virtus Sapientiae on her recital featuring the music of women composers throughout the ages. We talked about doing a treatment to the chant, perhaps just a drone, perhaps more. I became very excited, though, as thoughts filled my head of applying a modern treatment to the chant in an unaccompanied horn work. After Brianna chose not to perform this work, I immediately started composing a new piece using this chant as the genesis. Brianna then commissioned me to finish the work for submission to a conference featuring women performing music of women.
…of Hildegard is so named because the piece uses her chant to inspire the new work, taking the beginning and end of the piece nearly directly. In Phrygian mode, the notes lend themselves to the traditional Flamenco cadence; therefore, it was a natural leap to create a Flamenco style in the middle of the piece. It was written to contain all of the standard audition/competition elements—high, low, fast, slow, legato, articulated, hand stopped, lip trills—but none to the extent of making it unplayable. Do not be afraid to ‘let ‘er rip’ in the flamenco section!
Thank you to David Goldberg for the engraving.