IGM proudly presents the new album of Soprano Rachel Hippert, featuring the early sacred songs of Julian De La Chica. Check out the video in which both singer and composer discuss Profanum, and hear some of the most stunning moments of Hippert's performance on the album. We are also delighted to share these artful and reflective notes on the album, written by American actor and Opera Star, Zachary James.
Rachel Hippert: Profanum,
the early sacred songs of Julián De La Chica
Rachel Hippert (Soprano)
Composer: Julián De La Chica
Release: Sept 19, 2019
Producer: Irreverence Group Music
01. Kyrie Eleison
02. Ave Maria
03. Stabat Mater (Feat. José Heredia)
04. Laudate Dominum
06. Gratia Plena (Feat. Hannah Kramer)
08. Pie Iesu
09. In Principio erat Verbum
By Zachary James
Profanum - the early sacred songs of Julian De La Chica, the new album from American Soprano Rachel Hippert celebrates humanity in all its imperfections and our eternal desire for meaning within our existence. Though religious themes are present it was not these themes that gave birth to this work, but a desire to connect with the heart of the listener, to identify with the complex emotional landscape of what it is to exist in human form on this small planet we share.
Composer, Julian De La Chica, was fated into music when he was prompted as a teenager to take a church organist position in his home of Manizales, Colombia in order to generate an income and be helpful to his family. This calling would open doors he had not imagined for himself. While he was brought up and educated in the Catholic faith his path would stray from his roots and would lead him to begin to ask the questions we all inevitably ask ourselves as we trudge forward. Many ask God for signs of meaning, some silently ask themselves not daring to share their greatest fears with other, some seek professional opinions, some turn to science… but inevitably we all face the big questions… What is it all for? Why are we here? Do we matter? Do our actions matter? Where did we come from? What comes next? For De La Chica the answers were music, art, creation.
In my personal quest I have found connecting with others to be the most monumental experience, requiring the most vulnerability. To hand someone your heart and trust them with it is truly the most powerful thing you can do. Likewise, handing your life to a power greater than yourself and surrendering over all will requires a grace and inner peace that is almost unreasonable. I perform on stage and hand my heart to an audience of strangers because of my love for humanity and my overwhelming desire to connect. This equal balance of love and pain has been the touchstone of creation for centuries of artists. It is the artist who comments on our human experience most profoundly and pauses time that we may look at ourselves and each other and see clearly. Within the strains of Profanum are the love, pain and fear of all of existence waiting for the listener to enter its spell.
Profanum opens simply with a prayer, Kyrie Eleison, asking for mercy. It is like the simple mercy asked for at birth, might human life be blessed with all its needs met and good health. It is the wish of every creator, that their creation shall not struggle. And thus opens this work, profoundly yet simply tying itself to the listener’s heartstrings. Ave Maria finds soprano Rachel Hippert pleading gently, her pure tones bathing us of our imperfections and inviting us on a deeper journey. It is here that a meditative state wraps the listener and welcomes us into a dimension familiar to those who find meaning in music and art.
As we turn the corner a second voice enters, that of tenor José Heredia. Hippert and Heredia seem to be stars floating in space reaching to one another across time, their voices finally intermingling and melting into one another, connecting to one another longingly in perfection, finding peace together within the hallows of the great void that is the beyond. The album continues and could be a soundtrack for the advancement of civilization viewed on fast forward the way Philip Glass’s Koyaanisquatsi so famously and brutally displayed. We are forced to look at ourselves in retrospect unable to call out STOP, realizing we started so perfectly and simply and ran too fast toward the end, our insatiable desires being our greatest foe. Gratia Plena featuring mezzo soprano, Hannah Kramer alongside Hippert is that mirror being held up to ourselves asking us to see our naked fragilities and recognize that we may not know what is best for us. The two women beg in passionate discord distorting reality while the organ plays on unwilling to stop time and care for our broken hearts.
The album’s climax, In Principio erat Verbum, brings us to a fevered state, voices swirling around us as the work enters an electronic realm, the future is now and we are only consoled by the simple bell tones fading out soothing us like a cold sweat. The album ends with Redemption (From Lebanese Director Badr Farha’s film Margaret, with which De La Chica won the Best Original Score award at the London Independent Film Awards) Hippert’s voice accompanied by a repeated drone of organ fading away into the ether together. In this moment we are asked to look, to truly look around and see those we are walking on the path with. The feeling of making eye contact, smiling or having a conversation with a stranger, the feeling of connection we have all strayed away from as we plug in and turn on within ourselves. Connect. See. Hear. Listen.
Rachel Hippert and Julian De La Chica give us Profanum as a gift of music, a unifying blessing of connection to the human spirit which touches the idea of God, the universe and something both greater than ourselves and within ourselves. I hope you find within this work the comfort of connection I found and a grace within yourself of being ok with not knowing the answers to the big questions but believing it must all be for good. Peace be with you.
About the Author
Zachary James, bass, described as a "true stage animal" by Opera News is an international opera singer known for his “huge, robust bass” which “resonates with force” (Bach Track), “tremendous power and presence” (The Arts Desk, London) and “intrinsically beautiful”, “cavernous bass” with “oomph and range” (Opera News). He created the role of Abraham Lincoln in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s opera The Perfect American at the Teatro Real in Madrid, a role he reprised for London’s English National Opera and Australia’s Opera Queensland and the Brisbane Festival.
Behind the Scenes
Check out the video in which both, Soprano Rachel Hippert and composer Julián De La Chica, discuss Profanum, and hear some of the most stunning moments of Hippert's performance on the album.
Produced by Irreverence Group Music
Music by Julián De La Chica
Rachel Hippert - Soprano
Hannah Kramer - Mezzo
José Heredia - Tenor
Julián De La Chica - Synthesizers & Organs
Recorded, Mixed by Julián De La Chica
at IGMusicLAB, Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by John Garcia
Program Notes by Zachary James
Cover design by IGM
Photography by Julián De La Chica
Videos by IGM
Executive producers for IGM
Miguel Mourato Gordo &
Julián De La Chica
Julián De La Chica’s music is published
by Vagabundo Music Publishing, Inc. (BMI)
Manufactured and marketed by
Irreverence Group Music (Brooklyn, NY)
Made in US. Total time: 50 min
Ⓟ and Ⓒ 2019 IGM