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Hildegard von Bingen

The German abbess, mystic, visionary, monastic leader, healer, teacher and composer Hildegard von Bingen was born in Bernersheim on 16 September 1098. Born as a sickly tenth child to a noble family, she was dedicated at birth to the church, and sent away aged eight to receive a religious education.

Her music, mostly liturgical plainchant, and created to be performed by the nuns in her convent, was very important to her - she saw it as the means to recapture the beauty and joy of paradise. About eighty works survive, including the well-known Ordo Virtutum, a kind of early oratorio on the subject of the struggle of a human soul between sixteen virtues and one male voice part, representing the devil.

Hildegard was a surprisingly powerful lady for her time, travelling, speaking in public and communicating with emperors, popes and statesmen. She died in Rupertsberg on 17 September 1179, aged 81.

A selection of M&V articles about Hildegard von Bingen

Ensemble. Bouncy Vitality - The Sitwell Singers' Christmas concert, heard by Mike Wheeler

CD Spotlight. Something Transcendent - Music performed by A Far Cry, heard by Howard Smith. '... evidently capable hands ...'

CD Spotlight. An Attractive Simplicity - Choral music by Margaret Rizza, heard by Patric Standford. '... appealing choral textures ...'

Ensemble. Joy for the Soul - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Sagra Musicale Umbra

Ensemble. A Thunderous Send Off - John Adams and Peter Sellars' 'The Gospel According to the Other Mary' begins a European tour, and impresses Maria Nockin

CD Spotlight. Precision and Purity - Recordings from Estonia, reviewed by Rex Harley


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