Linear Lines was originally written in 2010 for my PhD but received something of a renaissance during the pandemic, with performances all over the world. This one, by Anne Howarth, has an incredibly evocative setting, and was performed online as part of a concert by the Radius Ensemble.
Linear Lines explores a relationship between the musical language of Hildegard of Bingen [1098-1179] and the present day, some 800 years later, and is based on the chant 'In Principio Omnes' by Hildegard of Bingen. The music is split into five sections, each a progressive soliloquy on the original musical material.
Ordo virtutum: Chorus, In principio omnes – Hildegard of Bingen
In principio omnes creature viruerunt, in medio flores floruerunt; postea viriditas descendit.
Et istud vir proeliator vidit et dixit: 'Hoc scio, sed aureus numerus nondum est plenus.
Tu ergo, paternum speculum aspice: in corpore meo fatigationem sustineo, parvuli etiam mei deficiunt.
Nunc memor esto, quod plenitudo quae in primo facta est arescere non debuit, et tunc in te habuisti quod oculus tuus numquam cederet usque dum corpus meum videres plenum gemmarum.
Nam me fatigat quod omnia membra mea in irrisionem vadunt. Pater, vide, vulnera mea.' Ergo nunc, omnes homines, genua vestra ad Patrem vestrum flectite, ut vobis manum suam porigat.
In the beginning all creatures flourished, they bloomed in the middle of flowers; after that the greenness declined.
The warrior [Christ] saw this and said: 'This I know, but the golden number is not yet complete.
You, therefore, look upon the Father’s reflection: in my body I endure fatigue, even my children weaken.
Now be mindful, for the fullness that was made at the beginning did not need to wither, and at that time you believed that you would not turn away your eye until you could see my body covered with gems.
It wearies me that all my followers fall into mockery. Father, behold, I am showing you my wounds.' Now, therefore, all humankind, bend your knees before your Father, that he may offer his hand to you.
Linear Lines was commissioned in April 2009 by the U.S. horn player Marlene Ford, and first performed at a series of lecture/recitals of works by women composers.