Composer Backstories: Hildegard Von Bingen
By Cienna Vang
Hildegard von Bingen (also known as St. Hildegard) was born in Böckelheim, West Franconia, born 1098. Her family and herself were dedicated to religion, as she was educated at the Benedictine cloister of Disibodenberg by Jutta, a religious hermit and sister of count of Sponheim. At the age 18, she became a benedictine nun at Disibodenberg.
At the age of three, Hildegard was ordered to record her visions which led her to write her Scivias (Know the Ways) and Book of Merits of Life and Book of Divine Works years later. Because of these works, she became well known as people sought advice from her. She also wrote many great works relating to medicine, physiology, and advice from contemporaries.
Her visions did not only allow her ot give advice to others: she also stood against sins. She believed humans are ““living sparks” of God’s love”, “sin destroyed the original harmonies of creation”, and “virtuous living reduces the estrangement from God and others that sin causes”.
With this idea, she fought against those who committed sins.
With her strong religious belief and visions, she created music of those topics. She composed music and lyrics for her songs, mostly liturgical plainchant and antiphons. Her music varied from “honoring saints and Virgin Mary for the holidays and feast days”, expounding her “theology of microcosm and macrocosm-man being the peak of god's creation”, “works on natural history and curative powers of various natural objects” and many more topics relating to her religious belief and visions.
Her music career was destined to be with her since the beginning. With her visions and religion, it allowed her to understand the deeper meaning of life and music to influence others.