HILDEGARD OF BINGEN (1098 - 1179)
Abbess of Rupertsberg, which she herself founded, Hildegard of Bingen held an important position as an abbess, a mystic, a diplomat, a writer on a wide variety of subjects, and a composer. A visionary, she was highly respected, her advice widely sought by the powerful in church and state. As a poet she wrote in a style replete with colourful imagery, as shown in her books of visions.
The music of Hildegard of Bingen is contained in her Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (‘Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations’), the Latin texts dealing with the hierarchy of Heaven—from God, Father and Son, to Confessors, Virgins and Innocents. Her monophonic musical language is based on a number of varied melodic formulae. Her morality play Ordo virtutum (‘Order of Virtues’), written some 150 years after the Terentian verse plays of the nun Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, also includes music of a simpler and more syllabic kind.