Hildegard

IAN COLLINS Norwich Cathedral

IAN COLLINS

> Norwich Cathedral

This was a performance which, for me, hit the wrong note from start to finish (or at least until the 80th minute when I made for the door).

Actually it misfired before the beginning.


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I had expected to lose myself in the harmonious chanting for which medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen remains a cult heroine to this day.

But we were treated to an absurdly lengthy health and safety warning about (politically) correct behaviour in the event of what used to be called an act of God. Oh, the irony.

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From that low note of bathos, the discordant score of James Wood then rose dinfully into a shriek.

Forget Heavenly Revelations. Think Hellish Cacophony.

Although snatches of Hildegard's life story did briefly break through - her clashes with male clerical authority, her possibly hysterical illnesses, her love of jewels and crowns and fellow nuns of noble birth - mostly this could have been called Ermintrude or Gobble diGook for all the light it threw on a maker of beautiful music.

Soloists Sarah Leonard and Omar Ebrahim were woefully wasted.

And finally when the chorus filed out with safety candles - possibly as a result of a Night Lights in Cathedrals EU Directive - I just burst out laughing.

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