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Hildegard von Bingen - Music and Visions

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Published on Feb 17, 2013

The Origin of Fire - Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen


1. Hymn: Veni Creator Spiritus 0:00
2. Sequence: Veni Spiritus Eternorum Alme
3. Antiphon: O Quam Mirabilis Est 7:17
4. Vision 1 "The Fire Of Creation": Et Ego Homus 10:47
5. Vision 1 "The Fire Of Creation": Et Audivi
6. Sequence: O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti 15:43
7. Vision 2 "Wisdom And Her Sisters": Vidi Etiam 23:37
8. Vision 2 "Wisdom And Her Sisters": Prima Autem
9. Responsory: O Felix Anima 29:12
10. Vision 3 "The Fiery Spirit": Iterumque Vocem 35:52
11. Vision 3 "The Fiery Spirit": Et Imago
12. Hymn: O Ignee Spiritus 42:51
13. Vision 4 "Love": In Vera 52:59
14. Vision 4 "Love": Et Audivi Vocem
15. Antiphon: Caritas Habundant In Omnia
16. Antiphon: O Eterne Deus
17. Hymn: Beata Nobis Gaudia

As a child, I often saw or felt 'entities' from other worlds. Many children report supersensory experiences and one such child was Hildegard von Bingen.
Hildegard of Bingen, (1098-1179) was born a tenth child to a German noble family. She was an influential and spiritual woman whose fierce devotion paved the way for future generations of women to succeed in fields from theology, to medicine, to music and art. At a very early age she claimed to experience supernatural visions of a powerful, transformative light, but she hid her prophetic abilities until much later in life. She was admitted into a convent at the age of eight, and was prepared for a life of hermetic devotion and meditation.

Although Hildegard was not formally educated, her desire to record her visions and messages into book form was undeterred. She relied on secretaries to help transcribe her ideas onto paper and was a prolific writer on topics of philosophy, herbal medicine, the natural world, and a noted composer of hauntingly beautiful chants.
Hildegard became a well-regarded authority and the Mother Superior of her convent. Around 1135, at age 42, she undertook a series of visionary symbolic paintings in unmistakable mandala-forms. While she did not make the illustrations herself, it is thought that she oversaw their production. These cosmic memories occur in myth and archetypes we readily recognize. The pictures were thought to be as strong or stronger than the words themselves. There is a gesltalt immediacy, what Hindu's refer to as darshan, meaning the simultaneous act of seeing and being seen by a deity.

She created a drawing, or illumination, in her manuscript Scivias (Know the Ways), circa 1140--50, of her defining vision, in which the great span of the universe revealed itself to her in a trance as "round and shadowy...pointed at the top, like an egg...its outermost layer of a bright fire."

Hildegard's visions led her to channel cosmic laws into illuminations and illustrate invisible concepts such as ethers, air, and wind. She assigns meaning to these elements to represent such virtues as atonement, righteousness, and moderation.

Central to her mandala paintings is the understanding of a 'cosmic equilibrium' and a reverence for all life. In her use of 'quartering of the circle' we recognize the four elements (fire, air, water and earth), an archetypal depiction also used by Native American sand painters for the four sacred directions. Her concept of Viriditas, the Greening, was a precursor to our ecology movement. She described this power as the agent of the God, a divine vitality, that was the animating life-force within all creation. This 'Greenness' was the very expression of Divine Power on Earth.



Anonymous 4 is a female a cappella quartet, based in New York City. Their main performance genre is medieval music, although they have also premiered works by living composers such as John Tavener and Steve Reich. The group currently comprises Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Ruth Cunningham, and Jacqueline Horner (Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek in more recent listings, following a marriage in 2008). Two membership changes have occurred during the group's history. The original lineup included Johanna Maria Rose rather than Jacqueline Horner. In 1998, Ruth Cunningham left and was replaced by Jacqueline Horner. In 2008, Ruth Cunningham returned to the group in place of Johanna Maria Rose.

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