A Feather on the Breath of God

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A Feather on the Breath of God
A Feather on the Breath of God.jpg
Studio album by Gothic Voices
Released April 1985
Recorded St Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 14 September 1981
Genre Sacred vocal music, plainchant, early music
Length 44:03
Label Hyperion Records
Producer Martin Compton
Gothic Voices chronology
The Garden of Zephirus
(1985)The Garden of Zephirus1985
A Feather on the Breath of God
The Castle of Fair Welcome
(1986)The Castle of Fair Welcome1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]

A Feather on the Breath of God is an award-winning album of sacred vocal music written in the 12th century by the German abbess Hildegard of Bingen, and recorded by British vocal ensemble Gothic Voices with English soprano Emma Kirkby. It was released by the Hyperion Records label in April 1985.[2]

It is an album of early medieval plainchant, the title is taken from a passage in Hildegard’s writings in which she describes herself:

Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne, around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly, the feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I '"A feather on the breath of God."[3]

The album received the Early-Medieval Gramophone Award for 1982–1983 and the maximum rating of five stars from AllMusic.[1]

It was recorded in St. Jude's Church, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, on 14 September 1981.[2][4] The music and Latin texts are from a contemporary medieval manuscript (Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek M52) edited by Dr. Christopher Page, who also directed the recorded performance itself.[2][5]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions (sequences and hymns) written by Hildegard of Bingen.

  1. “Columba aspexit” (5:18)
  2. “Ave, generosa” (4:36)
  3. “O ignis spiritus” (4:48)
  4. “O Ierusalem” (8:02)
  5. “O Euchari” (5:43)
  6. “O viridissima virga” (3:13)
  7. “O presul vere civitatis” (6:12)
  8. “O Ecclesia” (6:11)



Recording and production personnel[edit]

  • Tony Faulkner – recording engineer
  • Martin Compton – recording producer
  • Terry Shannon – front design
  • Edward Perry – executive producer


  1. ^ a b http://www.allmusic.com/album/a-feather-on-the-breath-of-god-mw0000157694. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dc.asp?dc=D_CDA66039&vw=dc. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  3. ^ A Feather on the Breath of God CD booklet, p. 2.
  4. ^ A Feather on the Breath of God CD back cover.
  5. ^ A Feather on the Breath of God CD booklet, p. 5.