Recognized during her lifetime as one of the finest composers in Italy, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani spent her entire adult life within the four walls of the musically famous convent of Santa Radegonda in Milan. Contemporary accounts describe the huge crowds that filled the exterior church of the convent to hear the angelic voices of nuns singing Cozzolani's passionate and ecstatic music.
Nine tracks on this recording of the complete Salmi a Otto Voci (1650) have been previously released and are available for individual download on this site. The remaining ten will be released digitally in the months leading up to the CD release in Spring 2010. By pre-ordering CDs from The Cozzolani Project's complete works of Cozzolani at cozzolani.com/subscribe
you will receive free digital downloads of all tracks - those previously released and those currently in preparation as they become available. Please visit cozzolani.com
for more information about The Cozzolani Project.
Cozzolani’s collection of 8 Vespers psalms, 2 settings of the Magnificat, 8 motets for 2-5 voices, and a versicle and respond was published by the publishing house of Alessandro Vincenti in Venice. The dedication, signed on March 24, 1650, was inscribed to Alberto Badoer, the bishop of the small Venetian city of Crema not far from Milan. Some of the music in this volume seems to date from the 1649 Milanese visit of the new Queen of Spain, Maria Anna of Austria, and the fact that Cozzolani would choose such a relatively minor figure seems to show her seeking other points of support outside the traditional channels of Rome, Milan, and the Holy Roman Empire. Badoer, however, was by no means unmusical, as he had been the dedicatee of one of the more idiosyncratic editions of the 1640s, Giovanni Antonio Grossi’s Messa, e salmi bizarri (i.e
. “witty” or "clever" psalms); Grossi himself would write motets for S. Radegonda’s singers, probably in the 1660s.
The remarkable breadth of style and ingenuity represented in this collection rivals that of any the numerous publications of Vespers music from the century and firmly establishes Cozzolani as one of the finest composer of the Baroque, or any other era.
Beginning in 2000, Magnificat and Musica Omnia embarked on a project to record the complete surviving works of this remarkable and neglected composer. Magnificat's initial releases reflected the ensemble's commitment to the performance of sacred music within the liturgical context for which it was originally composed. On the triple CD set Vespro della Beata Vergine released in 2001, Magnificat integrated four of Cozzolani's psalm settings, one of her settings of the Magnificat, and six of her motets into the liturgy for Second Vespers for the Feast of Annunciation. On their second CD Messa Paschale released in 2002, Magnificat placed Cozzolani's setting of the Mass and five motets within a liturgy for the Mass for Easter Day. On each CD, Cozzolani's extraordinary music is heard in the context of the chants, prayers and readings proper to the respective feast, as intended by the composer.
Recognizing that the consistently exceptional quality of Cozzolani's work and the superb interpretations of Magnificat's musicians merit a more comprehensive presentation as well, Magnificat and Musica Omnia have launched The Cozzolani Project at cozzolani.com
The Cozzolani Project will release all of her works - the 22 tracks previously released by Magnificat and the 23 remaining tracks - as part of the two volumes of Cozzolani's complete works. Cozzolani's complete works will be available not only on compact disc but also digitally, for streaming and download, on a website dedicated to promoting the deeper understanding and appreciation of her music and the cultural context in which she lived and composed.
All those pre-ordering the complete works from The Cozzolani Project's at cozzolani.com/subscribe
will receive free digital downloads of all currently released tracks and all currently unreleased tracks as they become available. Please visit cozzolani.com
for more information about Cozzolani and these recordings.
Warren Stewart, artistic director
Catherine Webster, soprano
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Ruth Escher, soprano
Andrea Fullington, soprano
Meg Bragle, alto
Karen Clark, alto
Jennifer Lane, alto
Deborah Rentz-Moore, alto
Suzanne Jubenville, alto
Elizabeth Anker, alto
Linda Liebschutz, alto
John Dornenburg, violone
David Tayler, theorbo
Hanneke van Proosdij, organ
Warren Stewart, conductor