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Easter Mass

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Audio CD, June 15, 2002
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Easter Mass + Chiara Margarita Cozzolani: Salmi a Otto Voci Concertati (1650) + Chiara Margarita Cozzolani: Concerti Sacri (1642)
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Editorial Reviews


Classical Music on the Web reviews Chiara Margarita Cozzolani: Messa Paschale Magnificat Musica Omnia mo0209 Chiara Margarita Cozzolani was a Benedictine nun who lived her entire adult life in the Santa Radagonda convent, in Milan. While her music was destined to remain within these walls for centuries, huge crowds came to the conventís church to hear the angelic voices of the nuns who sang Cozzolaniís passionate and ecstatic music. This recording, the second in a projected series of the composerís works, is like the first, Cozzolaniís Vespers, a world premiere. The liner notes for this disc explain that this is a reconstruction of a 17th century musical liturgy, which includes bits of Gregorian chant with works by Cozzolani. In order to createthis mass, the musicians have taken works from two Cozzolani manuscripts, one published in 1642, the other in 1650. The result is intimate and extravagant. As in the first Cozzolani recording, we discover texture and tone colors that are both familiar and surprising. The familiar colors of the Monteverdi-style madrigal, and, in fact the entire Italian 17th century song style, are here side by side with a choral texture of surprising delicacy and beauty. Some of the most attractive moments are the sections where several voices sing in harmony, such as the in loco Offertorium: Bene Iesu, fons amoris, where the fine singers of this ensemble, together over a minimal organ accompaniment, show the range and quality of their voices, as well as the beautiful texture they create. But the soloists are excellent on their own - though they are not credited individually for each track. The fine alto voice that is heard in the in loco Graduale and Alleluia: Ave mater dilectissima. This is rich and earthy; the soprano heard at times in the ad Elevationem: O quam bonum, O quam iocundum, is expressive and enticing. All in all, the eight female voices are delightful individually and, when singing together, admir --Classical Music on the Web

Early Music America Winter 2002-3 Chiara Margarita Cozzolani Messa Paschale Magnificat, Warren Stewart, director Musica Omnia MO 0209 69:38 min A few words of introduction for those not familiar with the life and works of the Benedictine nun Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (d. c.1653): Cozzolani was the most talented musician of the nuns at the convent Santa Radegonda in Milan. She received musical training at a young age and took her holy vows as a teenager. As an adult she never ventured beyond the walls of S. Radegonda and wasn t exposed to contemporary music remarkable when you consider the sophistication of her music. This disc, the second in a complete Cozzolani series, is a liturgical recreation of a service for Easter Sunday. Cozzolani' s setting of the Mass Ordinary is suitably conservative, a four-voice work that alternates imitative writing with homophonic stretches. But it pales in comparison to her more ecstatic motets. Magnificat's director, Warren Stewart, has replaced many of the chanted portions of the liturgy with these motets, and they are stunners. The two-voice motet Ave mater dilectissima, a dialogue between Mary and Christ, radiates tender lyricism and benefits from a skilful text setting that s typical of Cozzolani. The liturgy closes with Maria Magdelene stabat, a setting of Mary Magdalen s encounter with the angels at the tomb on Easter morning. Splashes of striking dissonance shade a musical canvas depicting grief and longing. Magnificat continues to impress. While I find the singing in some of the tutti choral passages a bit harsh on top, the individual voices blend magnificently in the motets. Tasteful instrumental accompaniment and natural sound (!!) make me yearn for more. - Craig Zeichner --Early Music America

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Introitus: Resurrexi 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Kyrie eleison: Messa a 4 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Gloria in excelsis Deo: Messa a 4 4:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Collecta 1:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Epistola: 1. Corinthios 5. 7-8. 1:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. in loco Graduale & Alleluia: Ave mater dilectissima 6:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Sequentia: Victimæ paschale laudes 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Evangelum: Marcam 16. 1-7. 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Credo: Messa a 4 7:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. in loco Offertorium: Bone Iesu, fons amoris 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Prefatio 2:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Sanctus: Messa a 4 1:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
13. ad Elevantionem: O quan bonum, O quan iocundum 8:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Pater noster / Pax Domini 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. Agnus Dei: Messa a 4 2:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
16. in loco Communio: O dulcis Iesu 5:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. Postcommunio 1:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Ite missa est0:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
19. in loco Dei gratias: Maria Magdalene stabat 8:35$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Conductor: Warren Stewart
  • Composer: Chiara Margarita Cozzolani
  • Audio CD (June 15, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Musica Omnia
  • ASIN: B00006B1OC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,382 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on December 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Across from the Duomo of Milan in the mid 17th Century, in the 'exterior chapel' of the Convent of Santa Radegonda, cloistered nuns performed musical masses on feast days, complete with polyphonic motets appropriately replacing portions of the liturgy as well as with instrumental accompaniment. They performed behind a screen, unseen by visitors; the only male participant would have been the priest, who stood outside the screen. One visitor, the priest Sebastiano Locatelli, testified to the quality of their music: "At Santa Radegonda, a convent of nuns, I could not discern whether the singing voices were earthly or celestial..." Much of the music the sisters sang was composed by one of their own 'Brides of Christ', Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, who took vows in her teens and who stayed in the convent throughout her life, eventually becoming prioress and abbess. Cozzolani was just one of a dozen or more cloistered nuns whose music was actually published in Italy in the 17th C, but she has become recognized in our times as the most gifted woman composer of the era, whose music bears comparison with that of the greatest male composers, even with Claudio Monteverdi.

No music I've ever heard has more instantly evoked a sense of spiritual ecstasy, of the mystic union of the Soul with God poeticized by Saint John of the Cross and Santa Teresa, than the music of Sister Chiara. I think you'll hear this exultation in the first bar of the 4-voice Kyrie that bursts like aerial fireworks from the somber plainchant introit. The four voices are all women's, but the compositional artifice and the use of basso continuo violone/theorbo gives the impression of a full choir of humanity. Their timbre is stunningly sensuous... sensual... carnally beautiful.
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