1100s, 2005, Music

The Origin of Fire (2005) by Anonymous 4

This is a collection of some of the works of the first great Western composer, Hildegard von Bingen. I know nothing about her beyond what I read in a book once, many years ago, and know very little about plainchant. I have no idea how these hymns were curating beyond what they tell me in the liner notes, or whether or not that curation makes any sense.

I do know that the music is beautiful and an extremely important step in the development of western music.

It’s hard for someone with as little knowledge of this music as I have to say much of consequence. I will say, though, that Hildegard remains one of the most under-appreciated composers in the history of music – at least in terms of her presence in the popular consciousness – as I can pretty much guarantee that most people I know don’t know the first great European composer was a woman.

As to the music itself: it is, as I noted, beautiful. But I have no idea whether or not this is in any way an adequate or definitive collection. It seems her output was immense and though I have to, at least temporarily, rely on the expertise of Anonymous 4 and hope they did as good a job of curation as they did in performing, I have no idea whether or not that’s true.

I look forward to more experiences with plainchant in the future.


  1. Hymn: Veni creator spiritus 4:31
  2. Sequence: Veni spiritus eternorum alme 2:42
  3. Antiphon, O quam mirabilis est 3:31
  4. Vision 1 “The fire of creation”: Et ego homo 1:46
  5. Vision 1 “The fire of creation”: Et audivi 3:11
  6. Sequence: O ignis spiritus paracliti 7:52
  7. Vision 2 “Wisdom and her sisters”: Vidi etiam 2:22
  8. Vision 2 “Wisdom and her sisters”: Prima autem 3:12
  9. Responsory: O felix anima 6:40
  10. Vision 3 “The fiery spirit”: Iterumque vocem 2:00
  11. Vision 3 “The fiery spirit”: Et imago 5:00
  12. Hymn O ignee spiritus 10:07
  13. Vision 4 “Love”: In vera 2:06
  14. Vision 4 “Love”: Et audivi vocem 3:22
  15. Antiphon Caritas habundant in omnia 2:18
  16. Antiphon O eterne deus 2:34
  17. Hymn Beata nobis gaudia 2:47

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