Caritas Program Note:

Caritas began life as a song for mezzo-soprano, string quartet, and harp, commissioned by Deutsche Gramophon for mezzo Emily D'Angelo's debut album, Enargeia. Emily knew I was writing an opera about 12th c. composer/visionary/polymath Hildegard von Bingen, and asked me to write a piece inspired by her texts. I created a poem of sorts based on various Hildegard texts about the Biblical virtue Caritas, or Charity, to whom she often prayed. For Hildegard, Caritas embodied the Female Divine; along with Sapientiae (or Wisdom), she was God's partner in creating the Universe. In this song, Caritas sings in the first person about being the life force behind the sun, moon, stars, and sea; the greenness in nature; and the vibrance in all living things.

Caritas (words by Sarah Kirkland Snider, after Hildegard von Bingen)

I kindle every spark

I breathe out nothing that can die

And by means of the aerial wind

I stir all things to life

I flame above the fields

I burn in sun, moon, and stars

And when the waters

Shine and flow and breathe

Like living things, it is I

For I am love

The fire of life,

I am love

I am fire, I am love

For love is life entire

Not hewn from stone,

Not sown by seed

Not rooted in man’s want

Or virile strength,

Not conjured with his power

My root is reason,

In which language

sounds and flowers

I flame above the fields

To signify Earth

I shine within the sea

To indicate the soul

I burn in sun and moon

To signal reason

And the stars

Are the innumerable stars

Are the innumerable

Words of reason

December 23, 2021

BBC Magazine

'Enargeia,' the debut recording by the young Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo, is a mesmerizing and eclectic group of mainly newly composed songs…truly remarkable… on it, I particularly enjoy 'Caritas' by the American composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, which features text based on Hildegard von Bingen's poetry."

Adrianne Pieczonka