A concert celebrating Women Composers is coming to Renwick High School on Tuesday, March 28th. The concert will feature a commissioned work from Bridget Carson, and the Concert Band will perform the piece. A grant from Tau Beta Sigma is funding the project. Carson serves as an English Professor and the Interim Director/Professor of Instrumental Music, at ICC.
The work is called Bloom, a set of variations on a theme of Hildegard of Bingen. Carson is working on this project with the Band Director at Renwick High School, Braden Oliphant, in Andale, KS.
"Braden is the former director at Fredonia, and he and I have stayed in touch. He reached out to me about the opportunity to write and conduct work on a concert they are doing to celebrate Women Composers," explained Carson. "As it is a concert celebrating Women Composers, I selected a line of music from Medieval Composer (scholar, abbess, mystic, etc.) Hildegard of Bingen's plainchant oratorio O viridissima virga about growth and the greening of Spring to write three variations that would suit their ensemble's strengths and growth opportunities."
Hildegard of Bingen is one of the lights that show that the "Dark Ages" was full of learning and art. She was a woman of intense spirituality, organizational and managerial skills, keen intellect, and courage in speaking her mind to power. She wrote treatises on medicinal herbs and advocated for Church reform along with running an Abby, which was, in its work, a spiritual artists' and scholars' commune. Her music, faith, and love of the natural world synthesize in her plainchant oratorio O Virissima Virga, a setting not of scripture but poetry. This set of three variations is taken from one line, Et illa appreurent omnia in viriditate plena/ And then all appeared in fullest greenness. So much of our concert band music is rightly martial, stemming from a vast military heritage. This work is not; this is Hildegard reveling in the green and growing earth, which she saw as a primary way to experience the love of God. It is dancelike and playful, like a child imagining several different things a leaf they are playing with can be. Accents are weight, not force. Staccatos are light, not hard. Swelling, growing, twining, full of goodness.