Early Music Ensembles Present Music Of Hildegard von Bingen

April 6, 2004

by Richard Veit

The Baylor University Early Music Ensembles will perform music of Hildegard of Bingen - the remarkable 12th-century German composer, visionary, abbess, author and poet - at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, in Armstrong Browning Library's McLean Foyer of Meditation. The ensembles director is Dr. Jann Cosart, assistant professor of musicology.

An extraordinary woman of the middle ages, Hildegard von Bingen completed a 10-year project called Scivias, which became a series of three books that set forth a grand scheme of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification. Before she had finished Scivias, she was at work on a collection of liturgical song. Music was an essential part of worship for Hildegard, a way to close the distance between heaven and earth. Fourteen of her songs are contained in Scivias, but many more are collected in her Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (Symphony of the harmony of celestial revelations). These compositions are transcriptions of the heavenly concerts she heard in her visions. Hildegard wrote her own texts for the songs, and her language is very individual -- quite different from any of the Latin poetic or musical traditions of her time. Written in free verse, the songs might be likened to liturgical prayer.

In addition to the 10 antiphons, songs, hymns and responsories by Hildegard von Bingen, the Baylor Early Music Ensembles will also perform two of Cosart's own works, which are based on the music of Hildegard.

The "Celestial Visions" concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 710-3991.

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