...circling, circled...

Lawrence Axelrod

About this work:

This work for flute, harp and string quartet is loosely based on the chant “O Virtus Sapientiae” (O Strength of Wisdom) by Hildegard von Bingen. Various parts of the chant with the most unusual character link, transpose and overlap to form a new ribbon-like motif. The actual ten notes which are sung on the words “circling, circled” emerge in the cello about three-quarters of the way through the piece and become more and more present right to the end. The image of circles both complete and trying-to-be-complete led me to start with small musical cells that repeat, expand, and mutate as the piece runs its course.
While there is a reference that could be seen as the holy trinity, the poem contains no explicit reference to a divine force. So, it seems to me that Hildegard chose to praise a very uniquely human quality.

O Virtus Sapientiae
O strength of Wisdom
who, circling, circled,enclosing all in one life giving path,three wings you have:one soars to the heights,one distills its essence upon the earth,and the third is everywhere.Praise to you, as is fitting,O Wisdom.

Year composed: 2014
Duration: 09:00:60
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice
Instrumentation: 1 Flute, 2 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Cello, 1 Harp

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