Margot Fassler will speak at Oxford via Zoom in the All Souls Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music, Professor Margaret Bent, convener, with Dr. Matthew Thomson
Fassler's presentation is entitled The Restoration of Anima in Hildegard of Bingen's Sung Play the Ordo Virtutum and will take place on Friday October 28 at 12 noon EST (which is 5PM in Oxford)
Discussants will be Alison Altstatt (University of Northern Iowa) and Barbara Newman (Northwestern University)
The presentation is open and without cost, but registration is required.
For additional details and registration please visit: https://earlymodern.web.ox.ac.uk/seminar-programmes#collapse2301931
Abstract: This presentation is based on chapters from Margot Fassler's forthcoming book Cosmos, Liturgy, and the Arts in the Twelfth Century: Hildegard's Illuminated Scivias (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). The musical dimensions of the book have been crafted to make what can be a highly technical subject accessible for non-specialists. Hildegard is an excellent composer for this goal: she worked in many disciplines, including the visual arts, and took this aspect of her thinking over into her musical/poetic creations. This short discussion will focus on one example of music and the graphic, that is the character Anima as she comes to life in Hildegard's sung play the Ordo Virtutum. The presentation explains the widely recognized polarity in Hildegard's play between two tonal areas, one E and the other in D. Here the focus is primarily on Anima's musical development in scales with finals of the pitch D. Within this area, Anima moves from joy, to the fallen condition, to restoration. In the play, a range of characters inspire her return to health, and, as they do so, they "tutor" her in the ability to recover particular pitches and ranges of pitches. The sense of expectation is greatly heightened through the use of music in this dramatic work as Hildegard demonstrates skill in character development through singing within community. This work was apparently designed to be sung by the Benedictine nuns on the Rupertsberg, where Hildegard was the magistra, the leader of the community. The play was a teaching tool for performative theology and also may have been designed to ready the women and other members of the probable congregation to receive communion.