Sunday, September 05, 2010

Birth of the Virgin

Albrecht Altdorfer 1480 - 1538
The Birth of the Virgin
Pine panel
1.407 x 1.3 m
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, Munich

In honour of the forthcoming feast, here is one of St Hildegard`s songs to the Virgin, O viridissima virga:

O viridissima virga (Saint Hildegard von Bingen)

O viridissima virga ave que in ventoso flabro sciscitationis sanctorum prodisti. Cum fenit tempus quod tu floruisti in ramis tuis ave ave sit tibi quia calor solis in te sudavit sicut odor balsami. Nam in te floruit pulcher flos qui odorem dedit omnibus aromatibus que arida erant. Et illa apparuerunt omnia in viriditate plena. Unde celi dederunt rorem super gramen et omnis terra leta facta est quoniam viscera ipsius frumentum protulerunt et quoniam volucres celi nidos in ipsa habuerunt. Deinde facta est esca hominibus et gaudium magnum epulantium. Unde o suavis Virgo in te non deficit ullum gaudium. Hec omnia Eva contempsit. Nunc autem laus sit Altissimo.

O viridissima virga

Hail, O greenest branch! You came forth in the windy blast of the questioning of saints. When the time came for you to blossom in your branches, "hail" was the word to you, for the heat of the sun distilled in you a fragrance like balsam. For in you bloomed the beautiful flower that gave fragrance to all the spices that had grown dry. And they all appeared in full verdure. So the skies rained dew on the grass and the whole earth exulted, for her womb brought forth wheat, and the birds of heaven made their nests in it. Then food was prepared for humans and great joy for the banqueters. So in you, sweet Virgin, no joy ever fails. Eve despised all these things! But now, praise be to the Most High.

Those who wish to know more about the music of St Hildegard von Bingen might wish to consult The Music of Hildegard von Bingen By Olivia Carter Mather