This week’s free download comes from Sacred Chants, the new disc of vocal music by the great composer and mystic Hildegard von Bingen, performed by soprano Grace Davidson and out now on Signum Classics.

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As our reviewer Anthony Preyer reminds us, there is more to this important early composer than at first meets the eye. 'Many seem to think of Hildegard as a mysterious, visionary woman from the Dark Ages. In fact she was an aristocratic abbess who was once told off for allowing her nuns to wear their tiaras to Mass, and she lived her life in a culturally rich area of the German Rhineland.'

Grace Davidson's album features renditions of nine ecclesiastical chants composed by Hildegard. About half of these celebrate saints commemorated locally (St Ursula at Cologne, St Maximus at Mainz, St Eucharius at Trier), while the others praise the Virgin Mary.

The Hildegard von Bingen discography is already well populated: but, Anthony notes, Grace Davidson has added something of real value here. 'Singing alone, she unfolds a tapestry of sounds filled with exceptional purity, mellifluous continuity and a focused sense of form.

'The vocal techniques of breath control (the long verses of Ave generosa) the command of the stunning leaps and dizzying meanderings of melody (O Ecclesia), and the subtle colouring of modal changes (O presul) are very impressive.'

We've chosen the track O Ecclesia, which Anthony singled out for such praise above.

Sacred Chants is out now on Signum Classics and can be bought, sampled and downloaded here.

Read our review in full here.

How to download

To access this week's free download, click the image below. It will bring up a media player, where you can either stream the track directly. If you'd rather download the track, the instructions will differ depending on which browser you are using.

Google Chrome:
Click on the three little dots to the right of the player and click 'Download'.

Safari/Firefox/Other Browsers:
Right click (or control click on Mac computers) on the player and select 'Save Audio As...'. Occasionally, on Safari it may ask you to select 'Download video'. If this is the case, select 'Download video' and it will download as an audio file (mp3) as normal.

If this doesn't work, simply right click on the image below and select 'Download linked file'.

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If you have any problems downloading this week's free download, please contact music@classical-music.com.