Welcome to the on-line-store ARTA Music cz en

Hana Blochová & Kvinterna

F1 0135  [8595017413520]
TT- 70:00, released 8/2006

  1. Sibilla provençale (traditional)   16:51
  2. Mariam Matrem Virginem (from Llibre Vermell de Montserrat)   7:59
  3. Faith / Víra  (Hildegarda z Bingenu: Ave generosa)   7:03
  4. The Birth of Hope / Zrození naděje (Hana Blochová, Petr Vyoral)   6:57
  5. Love / Láska (Hildegarda z Bingenu: Caritas abundat)   8:38
  6. Universum (Kvinterna)   22:29

Hana Blochova – vocals, harps, psaltery, Tibetan bowls, organetto
Petr Vyoral – fiddles, oud
Pavel Polasek – chalumeau, santur, vocals
Milos Valenta – fiddle
Frantisek Pok – shawm, recorder, hurdy-gurdy
Petr Filak – oud
Premysl Vacek – lute
Marie Hrebickova, Josef Preisler, Petr Doubek – vocals
Milan Bilek, Dan Dlouhy, Lubos Holzer – percussion
Michal Sodja - didgeridoo


Hana Blochova originally wanted to devote herself to a career in painting. The twisted paths of Fate – in her case, attending university – led her, however, to the study of physical chemistry, art-restoration techniques, the art history, art criticism, and ultimately, to an all-encompassing interest in the Middle Ages. This interest has to this day remained the “beacon” not only of her work but also of her conception of life and philosophy. Universality and interconnectedness are the main principles, knowledge of one’s craft the obvious basis, patient labour the concealed yet necessary process. Hana applies these principles in her music, which she apprenticed in as an instrumentalist and singer with a focus on medieval song. She has led the Kvinterna ensemble since the beginning of the 1990s, and has been involved in various projects, both regular and ad hoc, as a member and co-organizer. A key one is the Early Music Festival, which has taken place in Cesky Krumlov every year since 1992, of which Hana is Director.
As an art historian Hana has devoted herself chiefly to Gothic painting, with a long-standing interest particularly in the circle of Master Theodoric, the Bohemian painter at the court of Emperor Charles IV. As a musician she is interested in musical relics – most often songs – which preserve traces of the once continuous cults of the female deities from the great ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia. Of them, only one, the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has passed into western Christian culture, although in a form that with time became highly limited and schematic. It is precisely these songs that provide important evidence of medieval spiritual practice and can help one to discover how the non-material world operated (Jungian “psychic reality”). With time these songs became the official canonizations and unifications of religious rituals that were suppressed or repressed from the centre of human beings’ conscious attention, without, however, ceasing to be an essential human need. It is no coincidence that the cult of the goddess is today a widely researched topic not only among historians, but also among religious-studies experts, psychologists, and of course artists, particularly performance artists. And the cult corresponds to the natural order of things that women, more often than men, revive in their various rituals as part of their performances, installations, and the like. The cult of the goddess is not concerned only with the aspect of motherhood (for which Roman Catholic Christianity accepts Mary just after the Holy Trinity), but also the aspect of fertility (the Earth), wisdom (Sophia), love, and nurturing. With lunar elements the female principle polarizes the spiritual practice of various cultures. With lunar symbolism it enters artistic forms of expression, which were part of this practice – though not as “art,” but as an instrument – and preserves it. It forms dreams and visions. The ability to see beyond the boundaries of reality knowable by the conscious mind (to prophesize and also to see other connections) was considered a divine gift. Since earliest times the simple folk and the powerful of this world alike have gone to prophets and prophetesses for advice and instruction. The prophecies of the sibyl (from the Greek word sibylla, prophetess) have through the ages always been considered very important, and that is true to this day as well.
On this recording, which is her first solo CD project, Hana, with all her feminine being, fully identifies with this interest of hers. So far she has always integrated the female and male principles into her projects, and has sought a way to apply them in mutually balanced proportions and relations, at first with the help of external signs (on the CD Dvorska hudba doby Karla IV. from 1997), but gradually with increasingly deeper insight, which forms the background to the Alchemy cycle in Medieval Inspiration (2000) and is also a pillar of the Flos florum (2002) project. An interest in alchemy fits perfectly into Hana’s orientation. Just as a musician breathes life into the musical acoustic matter of ancient songs, so the alchemist brings primary matter (prima materia) to life in the crucible. The work of the musician and that of the alchemist are similar in many ways. Hana’s Alchemy project is, moreover, a way to take a position on the affairs of men (one of which alchemy undoubtedly is) in a “man’s” world: a woman needn’t search for primary matter and then labour for months or years, since she herself is essentially an athanor.
The earliest extant record of the Sibyl’s prophecy, including its melody, comes from a convent in Limoges, France (the MS is in the Bibliotheque nationale, Paris). Noted down in the Montpellier Codex at the end of the twelfth or beginning of the thirteenth century the song of the Sibyl of Provence is one of many its versions. The motet Mariam matrem Virginem, attolite (Praise Mary, the Virgin Mother) comes from the MS of the Llibre Vermell (Red Book) in the Benedictine library in Montserrat, Spain. Consecrated to the Virgin of Montserrat, the monastery is one of the holiest places in Catalonia and has remained a place of pilgrimage to this day. Both songs are part of the Ritualy stredoveku (Rituals of the Middle Ages) CD project, which Hana completed with the Kvinterna ensemble in 1998.
The song “Ave generosa a antifona Caritas abundat (Karitas habundat)” comes from the work Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum by the “Sibyl of the Rhine” Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179). “Ave generosa” is in a volume comprising 77 compositions, in the section “Other Songs to the Virgin.” “Caritas abundat” is in the section “Songs to the Holy Spirit.” Both compositions again mediate the possibilities of expressing the female principle and its workings – in ritual and in meditation. (Sometimes the feminine aspect of God is perceived in the Holy Spirit.)
The composition “Universum” is an abridged, transformed, aurally augmented, slightly reassessed version of the composition “Alchemy,” which Hana and Kvinterna made in 1999 and included on the Medieval Inspiration CD.

Wanda Dobrovská

© Studio Svengali, May 2024
coded by rhaken.net