|OUT of the CLOISTER|
Donna Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, one of the most talented of all of the Italian Baroque nuns who composed music for their convents, set the traditional 5 Psalms plus a Magnficat for S. Radegonda’s Vespers service (late afternoon service of psalms) around 1650. They may have been written for a royal visit, but her two settings comprise the psalms then in use for the major feast days of a Benedictine Abbey: one set for Sundays and male saints’ days, and one for Marian feasts and female saints’ days. The Magnificat, from the Gospel of Luke, which tells the story of Mary being visited by an angel who tells her she is to be the mother of God, always attends both.
OUR COVID CLOISTER About this video:
From my COVID cloister in March, with all choral music shut down, I filmed myself conducting the score as I heard it in my head – you will see bits of that. Using that silent video our most talented and generous of artists, Catherine Liddell, filmed herself playing continuo (accompaniment) on theorbo, a popular baroque lute/harp combo. I put Cathy’s video together with mine and then all of our wonderful singers recorded their parts watching me and listening to Cathy, while in their own COVID cloisters.
For any musician, but especially for ensemble singers, this is one of the most difficult things to do and I am so very appreciative of the hard work every one of our musicians put into this.
Over the summer and fall video editor Christopher Pitts and I spent countless hours on Facetime calls with his iphone camera aimed at his computer screen so I could see the video editing app and mostly hear the music. Once we were satisfied with the audio editing, audio engineer James Zaner mastered it, and Chris went to work editing the video. I commend and thank Chris from the bottom of my heart for all of his amazing work.
We also want to thank the Newton Cultural Council which helped us immensely by doling out 2019/20 grants to all Newton grantees whether their projects could take place or not. Ours couldn’t, and I was thrilled to be able to pay our musicians.
Some inspiring images:
Together with images of CC’s musicians, you’ll see images of Milan (that amazing Duomo), also of the interior of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, home to a very wealthy Benedictine convent in the Baroque. This particular church is significant for its retention of the wall separating the nuns’ chapel from the congregation. In the ceiling is a large opening and in the wall a large grate: through these the singing of the nuns flowed as if from heaven, providing musical and spiritual sustenance to the congregation.
An interesting addendum: in that wall between cloister and congregation is also a small door, just large enough for a face, into which each nun in the cloister would put her mouth to receive communion from the priest on the other side. Suggested donation: $15.00Cappella Clausura, long a champion of women’s music, acknowledges that we live in a time which promises hope and seismic change.
Music written by all genders and colors will be/has been a part of that change, and we join with so many choral groups in making our pledge that black Voices Matter. We need your support now more than ever to keep our ensemble operating and continuing to imagine a future with live concerts and YOU! Here’s how you can help: Sponsor our musicians
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AUDIO by Antonio Oliart
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