/ L I V E
// V E S P E R S
27 February 2014 // Jesus College Chapel
In the Medieval rite, VESPERS (or evening service) was the second to last service out of ten each day, sung by candlelight, in Latin, at dusk. This showcase of music by composer Stevie Wishart reconstructs the Vespers in both music and context. The pieces in this repertoire were inspired by 11th century composer and Saint, The Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and are taken directly out of the traditional Vespers structure: beginning with Deus in adiutorium followed by a combination of a psalms (Dixit Dominus) and antiphons (O virtus sapientie & O Successores). In the middle of our set we have placed Azeruz, a piece with text from Hildegard’s own inventive language, followed by a Hymn (Iste Hymn), a Magnificat, and ending with our collect of the day (O Doctor Optime).
Though the music has been taken from its traditional liturgical setting I wanted to find a way to maintain the still and reflective atmosphere which a Vespers service provokes. So, by constructing a circle in which the audience and performers are of equal parts, we are able to all share in this reflective candlelit space, allowing for the music to completely envelope us beneath the Jesus Chapel Tower.