Hildegard: ‘a dripping honeycomb’

A programme dedicated to the beautiful sacred music of medieval mystic, composer and herbalist, Hildegard of Bingen.

60 Minute Programme

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a German Benedictine abbess. As well as being a great spiritual thinker and leader, a herbalist, and visionary, she was a prolific composer. She wrote 77 chants, which are collected in her anthology Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (‘Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations’) and a musical morality play Ordo virtutem, (‘Order of the virtues’). Many of Hildegard’s musical works were inspired by intense visions that she had. This programme focuses on these inspired compositions, which includes Caritas habundat (‘Love abounds’), O Virtus Sapientiae (‘O energy of wisdom’), and Favus distillans, literally ‘dripping honeycomb’. Hildegard’s musical style is distinguished by her use of melisma (a single syllable sung to many notes) and soaring vocal lines which make it so distinctive and affecting. Voice have been singing Hildegard’s music for many years, having been introduced to it at a young age as members of the early music group, Sinfonye, directed by Stevie Wishart.