Hildegard von Bingen

O Euchari in leta via, sequence for St Eucharius

    Description by Timothy Dickey

    Though Hildegard of Bingen herself led monastic communities at Disibodenberg and Rupertsberg, she maintained close ties to the religious establishments in the important and venerable city of Trier. It was at the Synod of Trier in 1148 that her visions were proclaimed authentic. She not only included the city -- second oldest in Germany -- in a preaching tour, she apparently wrote several pieces of music for the worship of Trier's three patron saints: Eucharius, Mathias, and Maximin. O Euchari in leta vita was written in honor of St. Eucharius, the missionary to the Gauls, the first bishop of the city, and the man who laid the cornerstone to Trier Cathedral, the oldest cathedral north of the Alps. Hildegard probably wrote the music and poetry for the monks of the monastery in Trier devoted to his worship. This Sequence would have been sung during Mass on Eucharius' feast day, December 8 (she also wrote the Responsory O Euchari columba for the Offices of that feast).

    Hildegard's poem for the sequence is both long and celebratory, first praising the man who she terms a living disciple of Jesus. Out of his love for this Jesus (love greater than his fearful colleagues), Eucharius followed His commands and, fired by the dove of the Holy Spirit, laid the foundation for a church (Trier Cathedral). That church became a triple shrine in the City of God, in which the people of Trier receive the wine of both Old and New Testaments and also the message travels outward to the hills and woods about. Finally, she adds a prayer for the monks and the people of Trier to keep their faith alive in worship. Hildegard's musical setting pits pairs of verses with similar music against one another to delineate the poetic and liturgical form: aabbaabb. Her melodies are all in the solemn third mode (Phrygian). Many phrases contain her most characteristic melodic gesture -- rising leaps to the fifth and upper tonic of the mode -- and all center the melodies strongly upon the most important modal pitches. However, her alignment of text and music is uncharacteristically a bit spare, with relatively few melismas; the net effect is to present her straightforward and exuberant text in a straightforward and solemn fashion, appropriate for the high ceremony it would grace.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Odradek ODRCD 322
    2016 The Gift of Music CCLCDG 1289
    2014 Classico / Membran 233861
    2011 Fab Four / Scandinavian Classics 233117
    2010 Hyperion 30009
    2010 Naxos 857016970
    2008 UCJ / Universal Classics 5307415
    2006 Hyperion 44251/3
    2004 Celestial Harmonies 131292
    2003 Hyperion 21039
    1998 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77505-2
    1998 DHM Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77378
    Hyperion 66039
    EMI Music Distribution 78297