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Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen (*1098 - † 17. September 1179)

was born probably in Bermersheim as a daughter of the free nobles Hildebert and Mechthild. As the tenth child she was offered by her parents as a tithe to the church and for monastic life and lived with her magistra Jutta von Sponheim as a inclusa attached to the Bendectine monastery of Disibodenberg.

Upon Jutta's death Hildegard was elected as magistra of the small nunnery. Starting in 1147 she began to fix down the audiovisions she experiencied from childhood on with the help of various collaborators, the most import amongst them being her secretary and scribe Volmar.

Due to increasing tensions with the abbot of Disibodenberg she founded around 1150 her own monastery Saint Rupertsberg at Bingen on the Rhine. In 1165 she founded in addition the monastery of Eibingen on the opposite side of the Rhine.

Beside theological, medical, botanical and geological treatises a large repertoire of music is attributed to her. This comprises a collection of about 80 monophonic songs and in addition the mystery play Ordo Virtutum (Play of the Virtues).

Hildegard's compositions are mainly preserved in two manuscripts, the Codex Dendermonde and the so called Riesencodex ("giant codex") now at the Hessische Landesbibliothek Wiesbaden.

Hildegard's compositions differ considerably from the older repertory of Gregorian chant but should be judged in comparison to other new compositions of the 12th century.

This reveals that Hildegard's songs are built on earlier models as the compositions of Herman the Crippled from the Reichenau while keeping a specific own physiognomy.

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