Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Monday--Hildegard Von Bingen


Hildegard of Bingen was born in Germany in 1098. She was dedicated to the church at the age of 3, either because she was the tenth child in her family (hence, the tithe), she was extraordinarily intelligent, her family could not afford to feed her, or a combination of these reasons. Whatever the reason, her intelligence, intuitive spirituality and talent for music and medicine were nurtured in the 11th century Benedictine monastery.

She was a visionary who wrote books about science, medicine and natural healing as well as writing letters to saints, popes, kings and queens of her time. Her visions were often critical of the corruption she saw around her.

Her music was chant-like, but original and hauntingly beautiful.

This song, O viridissima virgo, compares the Blessed Mother to nature.

O greenest branch, hail,
who came forth in blowing wind
from holy wise men.

When the time came
that you bloomed in your branches
hail, hail to you,
the heat of the sun infused you
with balsamic fragrance.

The beautiful flourished in you
gave its aromatic fragrance
to all that was withered.

And thus all appeared
in full greenness.

The heaven spread dew over the grass
and the whole earth was made glad
because her womb brought forth fruit
and the birds of the skies had their nests in her.

Thus was made the food for humanity
and great joy among the dinner companions.
And therefore, of mild Virgin,
no joy is missing in you.

All of this Eve had disdained.
But now praise be to the highest.


Hat tip to Dr. Marcia Ramos-e-Silva

6 comments:

TACParent said...

Interesting. I like the comparison of Mary with Nature.

Dymphna said...

I thought you would!

kkollwitz said...

In 1983 I bought an LP for no other reason than I liked the title: "A Feather on the Breath of God." It was an award-winning Hildegard record, and it definitively put her on the music map. It's now available on CD. I think the original was an early digital recording, so the CD sounds just fine.

Dymphna said...

I bet that's a beautiful recording!

laymonk777 said...

Beautiful and Haunting. I have the Vision CD, the one put out by the record company that made "CHANT" back in the 90s. Hildagard's music is put to some world beat and electronic music and I love it. I have not heard much of it in the traditional a cappella like this. Thanks for sharing it. Pax!

Dymphna said...

You're welcome, Laymonk!

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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