The Illuminations of Hildegard von Bingen were paintings of her mystical visions in which she saw the human being as a representation of the entire universe. She was a shining light in the Dark Ages. Using fragments of her chants, Gackstatter adds a powerful rhythmic accompaniment creating a haunting, yet driving work.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 3 | Duration: 4:30
Clarinet in Bb 1
Clarinet in Bb 2/3
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Horn in F 1/2
Trumpet in Bb 1/2
Trombone 3 or Bass Trombone
Percussion 1 (suspended cymbal, tambourine, tam-tam, snare drum)
Percussion 2 (4 concert toms)
Percussion 3 (triangle, bass drum, suspended cymbal
Percussion 4 (bells, xylophone)
Percussion 5 (vibraphone, xylophone)
Medieval nun Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was a remarkable woman—a “first” in many fields. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard produced major works of theology and visionary writings which included treatises about natural history and the medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees, and stones. When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by bishops, popes, and kings, and she was the first composer whose biography is known. Her Illuminations were paintings of her mystical visions in which she saw the human being as a representation of the entire universe. She was a shining light in the Dark Ages. As a child, Hildegard started having visions at the age of three, when she could predict the exact color of calves before they were born. She was the tenth child of her parents and, therefore, tithed to the church where she grew up under the care of an anchoress. At age 42, Hildegard experienced a blinding vision which incapacitated her. When she recovered, she spent the rest of her life writing, drawing, and composing, trying to tell others the meanings of her visions.
This piece uses fragments of Hildegard’s chants, combining them with a powerful rhythmic accompaniment. The premiere performance also included a multi-media presentation of ten of her paintings.
- Gary Gackstatter