Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hildegarde von Bingen

On today's date in 1179, in the German convent of Ruppertsberg near Bingen, the mystic writer, composer, artist, and abbess Hildegard died at the age of 81. "When I was 42 years and seven months old," she wrote, "a burning light of tremendous brightness coming from heaven poured into my entire mind, like a flame that does not burn but enkindles. All at once I was able to taste of the understanding of books—the Psalter, the Evangelists, and the Books of the Old and New Testaments."
You can sample some of her rapturous, visionary music in the selection below by Anonymous 4. The latest CD by these mistresses of polyphony—Secret Voices: Chant & Polyphony from the Las Huelgas Codexexplores equally beautiful music from the same period.

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