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Hildegard Revisited #46

The texts of 14 of Hildegard von Bingen’s chants appear at the end of her first book of mystical theology – Scivias. Together with the morality play Ordo Virtutum, they are included in the thirteenth vision of the third part of that book, The Choir of the Blessed. Here is the miniature that accompanies the vision:

Hildegard also set these 14 texts to music, and they can be found together with their melodies amongst the other chants in the Riesencodex and Dendermonde manuscripts. They are grouped in pairs, each pair being made up of an antiphon and a responsory with a specific dedication.

The first chant in this Scivias series is O splendissima gemma. It is an antiphon dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Here it is in its original, monodic form. I have special plans for its revisiting. Watch this space!

O most splendid gem and serene glory of the sun, you into whom has poured the gushing fountain from the heart of God, which fountain is God’s only word, which created the first material of the world, which Eve threw into confusion; This word God made human for you, and because of this you are that bright material through which this very word breathed out all the virtues, just as it brought forth all the creatures from the first material.

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