Monday, March 17, 2014

Women in Music: Composers of Classical Music

For centuries, the music profession was almost entirely a man's world. Women could perform or compose as amateurs (or as nuns!) but it was unseemly for a woman to work for a living in any profession, including music. For most of history only a few women left behind scores that show how a woman could equal a man in talent, and with equal opportunity thrive in music.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was given to a convent as a child by her family, became a nun, and eventually became the leader of a convent. She was known in her time as a healer, artist, theologian and musician. Due possibly to migraines, she had visions that led to insights and artwork. Her works are all in Latin, with theological themes, and sometimes also liturgical purposes (i.e., meant for performance during worship) because her entire life was spent within the confines of convent life. Her most famous work, Ordo Virtutum, is one of the first known plays with music. She was canonized after her death, and her feast day is September 17.

For more about Hildegard, check out these from Bracken Library

Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen DVD Video 11071, Educational Resources

Ordo Virtutum DVD Video 7667, Educational Resources

Hildegard von Bingen: The Woman of her Age BX 4700 .H5 M33 2001 2nd Floor, Bracken Library

Compact Discs:
A Feather on the Breath of God
Compact Disc 5711, Music Collection

The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions
Compact Disc 15515,  Music Collection

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