Monday 18 January 2021 7:30PM

Jack Sheen conductor; Britten Sinfonia ; Jennifer France soprano

Frey, Hildegard of Bingen, Jack Sheen and Knussen


This concert was recorded live at Wigmore Hall earlier this month and will be broadcast in HD video. Watch here

All live-streamed concerts in the Spring Series will be available on demand for 30 days after the date of the concert.


  • Jack Sheen conductor
  • Britten Sinfonia
  • Thomas Hancox flute, piccolo
  • Peter Facer cor anglais
  • Oliver Pashley clarinet
  • Owen Gunnell percussion
  • Caroline Dearnley cello
  • Jennifer France soprano

At the centre of this programme is a hole, a near-vacancy, a new work from the young, award-winning composer Jack Sheen. Hollow propranolol séance stretches out panels of softly teeming sound, each one attempting to conjure – however fleetingly or ambiguously – some kind of presence out of the fragile whirring that we hear in our empty rooms.

Weaving together this eclectic programme are Sheen’s own arrangements of three works by the towering interdisciplinary figure – and someone commonly recognised as the earliest known composer – Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179). Since her childhood Hildegard experienced prophetic visions which she spent her life exploring as a mystic, scientist, composer, herbalist, and linguist. She was formally canonised in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Hildegard’s music forms the building blocks for three new pieces that reflect and refract the other works that surround them: Oliver Knussen’s ephemeral yet tight-knit miniatures, Sheen’s heart-rate slowing hum, and Jürg Frey’s gently levitating Circular Music No. 2.

  • Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
      • O virga ac diadema
        • (arranged by Jack Sheen)
  • Oliver Knussen (1952-2018)
      • Hums and Songs of Winnie-the-Pooh Op. 6
  • Hildegard of Bingen
      • O frondens virga
        • (arranged by Jack Sheen)
  • Jack Sheen (b.1993)
      • Hollow propranolol séance
        • (world première) [1]
  • Hildegard of Bingen
      • O viriditas digiti Dei

        • (arranged by Jack Sheen)
  • Jürg Frey (b.1953)
      • Circular Music No. 2
  1. Co-commissioned by Britten Sinfonia and Wigmore Hall