Symphony Central Coast: One Land, Many Stories

 

What a moving, exciting afternoon concert  we experienced on Sunday 23rd February 2020.

Originally it was to be held in The Entrance Park and we had planned to walk there but the flood of Tuggerah Lake has caused damage in the park hence it was changed to Kibble Park in Gosford.  Kibble Park is a very pleasing park but we needed to drive and hesitated about traffic and parking. By hook or by crook I wanted to go to this concert. So we went. 

The concert called One Land, Many Stories brought together performers and composers to showcase quality Australian music – from quiet reflections on our personal space in a very old country to an exuberant celebration of shared values.

There were stories of creation, ritual and first meetings

and music that evokes the Dreamtime spirit of Australia, 

the grandeur of the colonial stock run 

and the stars above us all. 

Performers from Central Coast Grammar School and Central Coast Youth Orchestra, 

plus special guest artists joined the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra. There was a world premiere of a piece by Kevin Hunt.  

It began with with a smoking ceremony. Green eucalypts leaves smoked and gave off a wonderful healing aroma . Many bathed in the smoke but there was no need to file past as we felt the cleaning power from where we were sitting. 

  

There was a heartfelt welcome to country. The first piece of music was very appropriate for Australia still grieving after the unprecedented Summer bush fire season – Peter Sculthorpe’s Earth Cry together with some insightful poetry about lament for Mother earth.

Next was An Ancient Forest Once Stood Here composed by Sarah Hopkins. Then a very Indigenous piece telling the creation story in music, poetry with clap sticks in unison with the European pealing of bells and the earthy magic of the didgeridoo .

Next was Stars Above us by Stephen Conroy, then the World premiere of Kevin Hunt’s 

Yaggabantana. The  lyrics were sung in one of the Indigenous languages with the British settlers singing  in English as they learn and copy each others language.

After interval we learnt that Spike Milligan was a Central coast boy and he composed A grand  waltz for the Central Coast .  Next Aurora Australis  composed by Martyn Hancock from Tasmania.

Listening to this music one could hear the cracking of the ice and the fiery colours scintillating across the night sky.  It was an exhilarating piece. 

Not my favourite, but i accept we need experimental music. Kinetica by Mark Grandison was experimenting with sound and I could see the young people in the orchestra were really enjoying it.

Then we segued with poetry from Man from Snowy River and  and the music from the movie which blended into Waltzing Matilda and back to the overture of The man from Snowy. We could see those brumby horses go.

Finally We are Australia sang in language and English. Breath-takingingly beautiful. Heartwarming and healing. As Stan Grant says we are making the space for the conversation and we are coming together more and more. 

By the way, the birds in the trees loved the soirée. They made their presence heard .It was a delight to hear them as they have been so silent all summer.

 

The Glad Tomorrow Oodgeroo’s poetry put to music and sang by Katie Noonan

THE GLAD TOMORROW

For the first time ever, powerhouse will be joined by the acclaimed Australian String Quartet for a national tour of their new project ‘The Glad Tomorrow’.

 

To our fathers’ fathers
The pain, the sorrow:
To our children’s children
The glad tomorrow.

The new album sees Katie set the uniquely Australian poetry of Queenslander and First Nations icon Oodgeroo Noonuccal to music, commissioning ten stellar Australian contemporary composers to create a song cycle based on Oodgeroo’s poetry, bringing together 4 distinct worlds – Contemporary Australian and Queensland Composers, the searing poetry of Queenslander, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, the Australian String Quartet and Katie Noonan’s unique voice and innate musicality. For me the most spine-tingling part was hearing the language of Oodgeroo’s homeland spoken by her  great-granddaughter, Kaleenah Edwards who read each poem in the Stradbroke language of her homeland Minjerriba.

This unique combination of creative powerhouses will deliver a spectacular and spine-tingling live performance.

 

Why is Hildegard of Bingen important?

Why is Hildegard of Bingen Important?

  1. Hildegard of Bingen produced major works of theology, music and medicine. Her work continues to influence our ways of thinking today.
  2. Hildegard is one of only 36 people to be named Doctor of the Church, a title given by the Roman Catholic Church to saints whose writings, research or study on theology or doctrine are useful to Christians “in any age of the Church.”
  3. Hildegard von Bingen changed the way we view the world. Among her most recognizable contributions is her theory of Viriditas, the divine force of nature.
  4. Hildegard was an early naturopath. She closely observed and documented human ailments and remedies. We have Hildegard of Bingen to thank for discovering many healing plants and natural remedies.
  5. Hildegard was an early nutritionist. She influenced the medieval diet popular today.
  6. Hildegard taught us how-to live-in moderation. She had a firm belief in routine, discipline, and discretio, the practice of living in balance and bringing the union of the divine and man into order.
  7. Hildegard of Bingen taught us that creativity is both an expression and form of prayer.
  8. Hildegard was one of the most important composers of the Medieval Period. Her morality play and opera, Ordo Virtutum, is the only Medieval composition surviving today with text and music.

Who was Hildegard of Bingen?

Canonized in 2012, Saint Hildegard of Bingen has long been recognized as a meaningful religious and historic figure. Born in 1098 to a noble family in Germany’s Rhine Valley this Benedictine abbess was a visionary and polymath, a poet, playwright, composer, philosopher, theologian, Christian mystic, scientist, and Doctor of Medicine.

What is Hildegard of Bingen Known for?

We appreciate Hildegard today as an extraordinary woman of the Middle Ages who held extremely progressive ideas for her time. Her irrepressible spirit and gifted intellect lifted her above the social, cultural and gender barriers of the time to consult and advise bishops, popes and kings during a period when few women were given respect.

St. Hildegard remains known as the originator of German alternative medicine and deserves recognition for her contributions to holistic health and wellness. She promoted the prevention of disease and illness by natural means of a moderate and healthy lifestyle and used the curative powers of natural objects for healing. She memorialized her healing methods in her writings.

Hildegard’s Literary Contributions

In Causae et Curae (Causes and Cures), she wrote extensively about the cause and symptoms of a variety of health conditions and provided guidance for treating the pathologies with natural remedies.

In Physica (The Natural Power of Things), she described the forces of nature and their effect on the health of man.

Hildegard is also known as the “Sybil of the Rhine” for her visionary writing.

Hildegard’s Visionary Works

Liber Scivias (Know the Ways) is perhaps the most famous of her writings. It describes 26 of her most vivid visions and deals with the belief that the universe exists simultaneously within each of us, while also encompassing everything else externally. As the illustrator of Scivias Hildegard is one of the few identifiable artists of the Middle Ages.

Her second visionary work, The Book of Life’s Merits (Liber Vitae Meritorum), illustrates the inseparable link between the cosmos, man’s salvation, and moral determination. It contains one of the earliest descriptions of Purgatory.

Hildegard of Bingen’s final visionary work, The Book of Divine Works (Liber Divinorum Operum) describes the comprehensive relationship with God, the world around us, and man.

Hildegard’s Legacy of Music

Hildegard considered music to be the point where heaven and earth meet. She viewed music as the interconnectivity between humans and the universe. Her book of songs (Symphoniae) includes the morality play and opera, Ordo Virtutum (Play of Virtues), which was the first morality play and opera written, preceding others by more than 100 years.

What did Hildegard of Bingen do?

Hildegard of Bingen was ahead of her time. She was the “first” in many fields, producing major works of theology, music and medicine. Her work helped usher in many new and creative ways of thinking.

Hildegard changed the way we see the world and a woman’s place in it. She demonstrated a new way of thinking and living during a time when little was expected of women. Her historical impact stems as much from her role in diligently recording the culmination of beliefs and practices over centuries of human experience as it does from her unique thinking. Her body of work touches on virtually every part of our beliefs and practices.

 

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast day This is a Countdown . . . MUSIC

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a countdown  Day 3.

Three days until Hildegard’s Feast Day – 17th September.

In  this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A  poetic journey,  we see how important MUSIC and SINGING is to  HILDEGARD  and to the  LIFE OF HER ABBEY.  

 

 

 

Hildegard is is now the Magistra (meaning teacher.)   Jutta has died and Hildegard holds her sisters together.  She leads them  away from  the old monastery to begin the creation of their own Abbey. (the new Abbey in Bingen)

To lift their spirits  she composes music that carries them on the breath  heavenwards.  The year is 1151 at their new Abbey on the Rhine River.

Unearthing Heaven

Seamless fold of seasons.
Not so seamless, their daily struggle..
Life is still comfortless
harsh, rough.

Music carries them.
Singing gladdens them.

Hildegard is invigorated
by harmonies of sound
sees music in the dawn
light on the hills
in the caress of the wind
shape of the clouds
sound of the entwining rivers
the patter of rain
chatter of verdant tendrils of vine.

Music moves in her mind
fills her writing
defines her day.
She sings with her sisters.
Her sisters sing with her.

Singing softens their tired
discouraged hearts
like blossoms soften stone walls. 

In giving voice to her poetry
Hildegard bursts into song.  
Words of Divine Light, 
sounds from the heavenly spheres
echo in her,

O fleeting soul, be strong. 
Clothe yourself in the armour of light.
You are surrounded 
with the embrace of Divine mysteries.

She sees creation, a symphony of joy and jubilation,
a great chorus of the cosmos itself.

In the garden with her sisters
she draws lines with a stick on the earth
dots out the shift of sounds,
with the stick as baton and pointer
she teaches them her new music.
Their eyes shine.
Her antiphons and canticles
enrich the Divine Office.
Richardis leads, her voice ethereal,
the sisters join, words and rhythms soar,
breathless notes, higher and ever higher.

Their unfinished church
embraces their song,
a new heaven and new earth.

 

 

Photos of music scores fro around Hildegards time to show the beautiful calligralhy  and the second photo is of the author in the vicinity of where Hildegard is supposed to have lived in the anchorage at the Disibodenberg Monastery from 1112 – 1150

Disibodenberg: Poetic Journey

Disibodenburg
Disibodenberg

High in the forest
it sprawls in the clouds.
The last mile steeply uphill.
Secluded.

A white butterfly dips and lifts.  
Hildegard’s gaze follows it up
catches the glint of the sun 
on the first stone wall. 

disibodenberg 2

Stoic buildings unfold
cloistered around a cobbled garth. 
Their Benedictine monastery.

disibodenberg 4

A monk in cinctured black robe
walks from the signposted infirmary. 
From beneath his blinkered cowl
he extends a welcome.

They dismount.  
Jutta falls on her knees in gratitude.
Hildegard overjoyed, breathes
the space of leafless beech and elms
in the skinniness of winter.

White tipped branches 
disguise trees of apple and pear.
Grapevines cling bare along stone walls.      
Frosty breath hangs in the air.
Her new home,
a frisson of gold in the cool noon sun.

Hammer and anvil ring, 
chink of chisel, thwack of axe,
clank of well come to a hush 
as a bell rings.  Then the shuffle 
and hiss of sandals, 
forty robed monks file to chapel.
Hearing a deep, rich chant
Hildegard looks up, 
hearkened to the sound. 

 

disibodenberg 3
Michael on The Way to the ruins of Disibodenberg where Hildegard lived for 38 years.

We walked with our guide on our pilgrimage to Disibodenberg
and imagined  Hildegard arriving as a young girl with her mentor Jutta,
and Hildegard hearing the music of the monks for the first time.

Unearthing Heaven in Music: Poetic Journey

 

 

 

 

“Hildegard’s music is not easy. It is demanding with the breath…there are even a couple of songs that have two and a half octave ranges, which is extreme for music. In our day, we don’t even have most music like that.” ~ Linn Maxwell on Saint Hildegard’s music

This poem is set in Hildegard of Bingen’s new Abbey at Rupertsberg near the town of Bingen at the junction of the Nahr River and the Rhine in 1151. It is before her new Church is completed and before her sisters sing in flowing silk robes their Opera Ordo Virtutum  written by Hildegard (believed to be the first opera written by a woman in History. This poem is an extract from my up and coming writing on Hildegard of Bingen: A Poet Journey

 

 

De_spiri

                                                          Unearthing Heaven in Music
Unearthing Heaven in Music

Seamless fold of seasons
Not so seamless, human endeavour.
Life is still comfortless,
harsh, rough.

Hildegard is invigorated
by harmonies of sound,
sees music in the dawn,
dance of light on the hills,
in the caress of the wind,
shape of the clouds
sound of the entwining rivers,
the patter of rain
chatter of verdant tendrils of vine.

Music sings in her mind
fills her writing
defines her day.

In giving voice to her poetry
Hildegard bursts into song.
Words of Divine Light,
sounds from the heavenly spheres,
O fleeting soul, be strong.
Clothe yourself in the armour of light.
You are surrounded
with the embrace of divine mysteries.

She sees creation, a symphony
of joy and jubilation,
a great chorus
of the cosmos itself.
She sings with her sisters.
Her sisters sing with her.
Singing softens their tired
discouraged hearts
like blossoms soften stone walls.
In the garden with her sisters around her
she draws lines with a stick on the earth
dots out the shift of sounds,
and with the stick as a baton and pointer
she teaches them her new music.
Their eyes shine.
Her antiphons and canticles
enrich the Divine Office.
Richardis leads, her voice ethereal,
the sister join, words and rhythms soar,
breathless notes, thin higher and higher.

The unfinished church
embraces their song,
a new heaven and new earth.

 

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