Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen was a composer, poet, and saint who lived from 1098 until 1179 AD. She was a nun who wrote mostly liturgical music, but her Ordo virtutum is the oldest musical drama that was NOT written for church use. Her music was virtually undiscovered for hundreds of years; she was first recognized as a composer in 1979. 

Hildegard was also a scientist who studied botany, biology, and medicine. She wrote multiple books about herbs as well as theology, science, and the arts. She was eventually recognized as a saint in the Catholic tradition because of her faith and accomplishments.

The Art

Most of Hildegard’s tunes are meant for a choir or a single vocalist. She uses a large range in her pieces. They can feel monotonous to our 21st-century ears. We are listening to her because Hildegard’s music is among the first recorded compositions in history. Music before her time was not recorded in such a way that we can interpret it today.

O rubor sanguinis
Ordo virtutum
Spiritui sancta
Te lucid ante terminus

Internet Resources

Biographical Websites:

Biographies in Print and Video

Credit for Photo of Artist: By Unknown author – Miniatur aus dem Rupertsberger Codex des Liber Scivias., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1718595

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