Chapter

Vox Feminae

Bernard D. Sherman

in Inside Early Music

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195169454
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865017 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169454.003.0004
Vox Feminae

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Hildegard (1098-1179), the founder and abbess of a Benedictine nunnery in Bingen, Germany, first came to the attention of modern America in a book about headaches. Oliver Sacks’s 1970 book Migraines included an essay arguing that Hildegard’s mystical visions were “indisputably migrainous”, although with characteristic open-mindedness he has also written that this “does not detract in the least from their psychological or spiritual significance”. Today Hildegard of Bingen is known chiefly for her music. What brought about the change was a pair of 1982 CDs, Gothic Voices’s A Feather on the Breath of God, and Sequentia’s Ordo Virtutum. Both still stand among the best-selling recordings yet made of early music. This chapter presents an interview with Barbara Thornton, who discusses the music of Hildegard, Gregorian chant, color in music, imagery in Hildegard’s music, and feminine elements of Hildegard’s music.

Keywords: Hildegard of Bingen; Barbara Thornton; early music; Gregorian chant; color; medieval music; imagery

Chapter.  8429 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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