Despite a rather rocky start, it’s good to be back in the saddle with our routine and our studies and most of all, our fine arts. We’ve been spending a lot of time in the modern world with both our history and our fine arts (since I like to try to line them up if I can), and it is good to be back in the past. In the ancient past for history, and the medieval past for much of our art.
The composer we’re studying is a fascinating woman named Hildegard von Bilgen, a 12th-century Abbess in Germany. In addition to being a musician, she was the Magistra of her Abby, an author who wrote books about visions, commentaries and sermons, and scientific books on the medicinal value of herbs and other plants, a poet and an artist. She also had a habit of sassing the rulers of the day — including the pope — and coming out on top. I’m looking forward to learning more about her, and hey! There’s an International Society of Hildegard von Bilgen studies.
Here’s an interesting biography about her. Ambleside suggests this lovely children’s picture book, Hildegard’s Gift, that my library had. I love it when that happens.We aren’t actually studying her art, we’re studying another guy. We’ll look at him later. Anyway, our first song is “Antiphon, O quam mirabilis est.”
The translation is
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How wonderful it is,
that the foreknowing heart divine
has first known everything created!
For when God looked upon the human face
that he had formed,
he gazed upon his ev’ry work and deed,
reflected whole within that human form.
How wondrous is that breath
that roused humanity to life!
Lovely, isn’t it.
It’s good to be back!