Herrad of Landsberg

According to the August 1998 Harmonia Mundi catalogue:

"The twelfth century was a period of astonishing musical innovation. It provided a rich and stimulating background to the melodic inventiveness of Hildegard von Bingen and the insatiable curiosity of Herred von Landsberg, whose encyclopedia, Hortus deliciarum 'Garden of Delights,' ends on a festive note with a collection of chants and hymns. Opus 111's recording also includes revealing examples of musical repertories familiar to the two abbesses."

works from the Hortus Deliciarum :

Sol oritur occasus nescius (conduit)
Leto leta concio (canon)
Veri floris sub figura
Primus parens hominum (hymn)

works by Hildegard of Bingen

O rubor sanguinis
Favus distillans Ursula virgo
Cum vox sanguinis
Alleluia -- O virga mediatrix

song text for Veri floris sub figura
from the Hortus Deliciarum

The pious zeal of our priest
has shown the mystic flower
beneath the appearance of a true flower
sprung from a pure stem.
Paying no heed to the custom of lay people,
he drew a pictured meaning
from the nature of the flower.

The beauty of a flower does not decrease
if it neither dries nor fades.
Likewise, the flower the Virgin brought forth
can never fall.
It grew without a seed.
Humankind, so limited in means of perpetuation,
worships her in fear.

The craftsman, through his skill,
shapes in gentle forms
the gold he softens in the heat of the fire.
Likewise, the grace come amidst men
has inflamed a fire of piety;
thanks to it, justice can bend
and become less severe.

From this fire of piety
there came forth, on the anvil of purity,
the flower of charity
to which the craftsman, the paraclete,
gives his shape in godhead,
fashioning in human shape
the gold of divinity.

By these manifold meanings
the symbol of the flower aroused
the understanding of pious hearts.
The sceptre of the powerful king
marked with this sign of the value of gold.
His purple is the wounded side, and his spendor the joy
of the risen Christ.

WOMEN MUSICIANS, from Herrad of Landsberg's encyclopedia, "Garden of Delights"

Illustrations and information on Herrad of Landsberg can be found in most women artists historical surveys. The following note is from "Women, Art and Society," by Whitney Chadwick (Thames & Hudson, 1990):

"In 1167 Herrad was elected Abbess of Hohenburg near Strasbourg. The Hortus Delicariarum," a massive folio of 324 sheets of parchment, had 636 miniatures which were probably executed in a professional workshop in Strasbourg shortly after her death in 1195. Both an anthology and a religious encyclopedia, it includes nearly 1200 texts by various authors, as well as several poems which appear to be in Herrad's hand. In addition to her literary and editorial work, she almost certainly supervised the scheme of the illustrations and she may have contributed to the outline drawings. The manuscript remained in the Abbey of Hohenburg throughout the Middle Ages. Tragically, the bombing of Strasbourg in 1870 destroyed the original and we are left with only a small number of illustrations reproduced in engravings during the nineteenth century and a few fragments with pictures later acquired by the British Museum....

"Herrad dedicated the Hortus Deliciarum" to the nuns of her convent:

    'Herrad, who through the grace of God is abbess of the church on the Hohenburg, here addresses the sweet maidens of Christ...I was thinking of your happiness when, like a bee guided by the inspiring God, I drew from many flowers of sacred and philosophic writing this book called the Garden of Delights; and I have put it together to the praise of Christ and the Church, and to your enjoyment, as though into a sweet honeycomb...'

"...The subjects of the Hortus Deliciarum come from a long tradition in Western and Byzantine art, but their fresh and spontaneous treatment, and the author's close attention to the costumes, life, and manners of her age, have made the work a unique and valuable source for our understanding of life at the time. Herrad's decision to add to each picture the name of every person or implement in Latin or German, or sometimes both, has greatly assisted modern research into medieval terms and their usage."