Review by Warren Mayocchi
Saint Hildegard lived almost a thousand years ago in what is historically known as the dark ages. She is celebrated for many writings as well as being a Christian saint. Some of her works are presented on this album by Sándor Vály and Júlia Heéger. The sound is spacious and operatic within a meditative mood. At times the soundscape is mingled with sharp industrial noises, somewhat like the sound of a connecting modem, at other times the operatic vocals of Júlia Heéger give voice to the ancient writings. The album is populated by three tracks, two of which are twenty minutes, the other is thirteen minutes. Appropriately the vocals sound like a church built a long time ago, steeped in the history of those who attended services throughout reverent times. I expect the lyrics are presented in Latin and the translations are quite religious, as you might expect from writings by a Christian saint. Listening to the album is only half of the artwork. Should you explore further, the album is presented in full as an audio-visual experience (see http://sandorvaly.com/sacred-songs/). In the videos, you will see as well as hear what is fully intended in this work. Sándor Vály states, “My work was conceived during contemplation at church when I noticed the space formed by the lack of dance, when every single art form is present in churches from painting, to sculpture, to music, to architecture, from the stained glass windows to the joinery. The church is an internal image of the human world reflected outwards by the soul. A vision in the form! All this was created by artists in order to communicate with God. Art is communication, alliance, the deepest primordial expressive force of the human soul. But how could dance be overlooked?” So, it is the religious celebration of dance and music together which is the goal of “Sacred Songs“. If you were to pick only one of the video experiences (link here) I would choose “O Tu Suavissima Virga“, I particularly like the effect of the synchronized synth heartbeat and dancer accompanied by operatic vocals, it is stunning. The song climaxes with the industrial-sounding sections of musical noise mentioned above. Obviously, this will not be an album for everyone, particularly the audio-visual experience for those who are offended by nudity. However, it is a piece of art which can be appreciated regardless of your chosen religious beliefs or absence of the same. It is like an extended personal audience with one of the famous statues, perhaps the Venus de Milo.
Rating – 90/100
- O Vis Aeternitatis
- O Tu Suavissima Virga
- O Vis Aeternitatis – Eternity
- Júlia Heéger – Soprano
- Sándor Vály – Cello, Organ & Organ