Hildegard! is the recounting of over twenty years experiencing Hildegard von Bingen and her multi-gifted works in music, medicine, art, poetry, theology, and spirituality. St. Hildegard (so named on 10 May 2012!) was an incredibly gifted 12th Century German Benedictine Abbess whose works speak loudly and wonderfully to us today. Her music alone is enough to place her in history, and her work in other areas is equally amazing. She will become a 'Doctor of the Church' in Rome in October 2012.
Numerous contemporary writers place her in the rather restrictive category of 'feminist'. One of the purposes of this book is to allow her to live for us today without that narrow attribution, and to experience her as a human being who lived life in the love of God and who served as a prophetess and teacher and healer and singer and writer in response to her understanding of God's will. Oh, and she happened to be a woman.
A second purpose of the book is to examine her music and put to rest statements and insinuations that it was not equal to other sacred, liturgical music being written at the same time. Seven of her chants are examined in depth, using different techniques of analysis. Her music is wonderfully and masterfully crafted. And it is certainly not the same as other music following the compositional conventions of the time. That does not make it less 'worthy'! She flings her chants into the universe, extending the 'normal' practices of 12th Century composition. She is also the first composer of Western music to be identified by name as the composer of a significantly large and varied body of works - including the very first Morality Play in music history (Ordo virtutem.
A third, and the primary purpose of the book is to discover, delight, and entertain. Sections on her history, visions and music are paired with meditations using Hubble Telescope images similar in shape to her visions, with exercises to help energize and strengthen the body, and with healthy recipes based on her teachings about nutrition. This is not an academic tome, though it could be used in courses on medieval music. It is not written with investigation, question, and hypothesis in mind. It is a highly self-indulgent narration of a twenty-five year journey of discovery, delight, healing, and realization that we are indeed interconnected with everyone and everything on this planet and in the universe. How humbling. And energizing. And joyful!