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12 - The Unknown Hildegard: Editing, Performance, and Reception (An Ordo Virtutum in Five Acts)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2014

Honey Meconi
Affiliation:
University of Rochester
Craig A. Monson
Affiliation:
Professor of Musicology at Washington University (St Louis, Missouri)
Roberta Montemorra Marvin
Affiliation:
Teaches music at the University of Iowa
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Summary

The first note is wrong—the very first pitch of the first modern edition of Hildegard's music is, quite simply, the wrong note.

The symbolism is too powerful to ignore. The literal start of the publication of her music, the commencement of the rebirth of her song, is incorrect. This misstep, as it turns out, was prophetic. As the following essay will show, the publication of Hildegard's music has, for almost 150 years, usually misrepresented her in one way or another. It is thus all too fitting that the direction was off from the very start.

Hildegard's music is now well known in both academic and early music circles and has made a considerable impact on the general listener as well. Multiple recordings exist of her play with music, Ordo virtutum (the Play of the Virtues), as well as of almost all of her seventy-seven chants. We have facsimile editions of both of the main sources of her music, the Dendermonde Codex and the Riesencodex (two facsimiles of the latter, in fact, one dating back to the early twentieth century). Transcriptions of selected works go back still further, to the nineteenth century, and we have two extended editions of her music, one in standard notation and another in modern chant notation.

This staggering amount of material stands in stark contrast to the works of most medieval composers, as well as to the output of many important women composers of later eras.

Type
Chapter
Information
Music in Print and Beyond
Hildegard von Bingen to The Beatles
, pp. 258 - 306
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2013

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