Bowden, M. (2012) Viriditas. [Composition]


For ten players, duration c.18 minutes. Viriditas is a word associated with the composer and abbess Hildegard von Bingen and can mean vitality, fecundity, mutability and growth. This work takes as its starting point a passage of writing from Hildegard’s illustrated work Scivias, which describes a vivid, ritualistic and sometimes terrifying vision of the cosmos. The movement material in the original dance performance explored various ritualistic behaviours and examined the functions that such behaviours fulfil in today’s developed world through calm, meditative and focused moments, individual emotional eruptions and a wild group dance. In the music six types of material, all derived from a continuous and never-repeating melodic line, are intertwined to create a continually shifting structure that moves between moments of tranquil calmness and erratic, hocketing episodes. The piece as a whole can be thought of as an imagined ritual for dancers, musicians and audience: an expression of catharsis and resolution.

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