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Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen Mandala

 

The disc face of the CD uses a mandala created by Hildegard von Bingen.  The website of The Interntational Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies writes this concerning the great composer, artist and theologian:

"Perhaps no other medieval composer has captivated the interests of popular audiences, scholars, and the religious faithful as Hildegard of Bingen. She is by far the most famous composer of plainchant, and her 77 liturgical chants and morality play have found a happy place today in the repertoires of both religious congregations and classical and New Age artists alike. More works can be definitely attributed to Hildegard than any other composer from the Middle Ages. The melodic variety of Hildegard’s chant, ranging from the highly florid works of her early years to the more restrained chant, reflect her intimate familiarity with chant genres and the compositional practices of late medieval chant. Where Hildegard’s musical brilliance shines brightest is the sublimity of the liturgical poetry that accompanies it."1

Theologian Annette Esser has commented that ". . . Hildegard of Bingen’ s vision of the choirs of the angels is rather cosmic."2 The same might be said for the compositional voices of the set of women in this program. Hildegard's art work as a focal point associated with these great composers and the angels that have descended and walk with all of us seemed a powerful choice.

Annette Esser goes on to describe the spiritual heirarchy that Hildegard is laying out in this mistressful piece:

"As a whole, the concentric circles show the form of what we today . . . perceive as a mandala: Hildegard rather saw the shape of a “crown” and spoke of “armies”. In naming nine armies, she follows an old tradition going back to Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita . . . angels are closely related to God. The Devil is not an antipode (as in gnostic teaching), but merely a former archangel having fallen into absolute darkness. For Hildegard, as she unfolds it in the third book of the Scivias, God picked up Lucifer’s lost energy and gave it to his new creature: the human race.3

1. http://www.hildegard-society.org/p/music.html, Introduction

2. The Choirs of the Angels_rev_5.pdf, Pg.1

3. Ibid, Pg.1