The Vespers of Cozzolani Cappella Clausura: Sipra Agrawal, soprano Laura Betinis, mezzosoprano Anna Maria Dwyer, mezzosoprano Janna Frelich, mezzosoprano Leah Krznarich, soprano Jeanne Marie Lucas, soprano Allegra Martin, alto Kimberly Soby, soprano Susan Ward, mezzosoprano Junko Watanabe, soprano Jacque Wilson, mezzosoprano Special guest Catherine Liddell, theorbo Amelia LeClair, Director Amphion's Lyre: Gigi Turgeon, baroque violin Jessica Stensrud, baroque violin Rosalind Brooks Stowe, viola da gamba Mai-Lan Broekman, viola da gamba James Meadors, Whatever he calls it Hendrik Broekman, organ Vespers Psalms of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani Milan Published by Artemesia Publications, Inc. Italy The music in this volume comes from one of the most celebrated ensembles of women musicians in early modern Italy: that of the Benedictine nuns of the convent of Santa Radegonda, located across the street from Milan Cathedral. S. Radegonda was but one of some twenty such female foundations in the city whose music became famous between 1600 and 1700, and which boasted several nuns who also composed. Traveler's reports, urban guidebooks, and not least many ecclesiastical regulations all testify to the renown of S. Radegonda's singers. In 1664, the Bolognese priest Sebastiano Locatelli (who would have been no stranger to nun's music in his home town) reported that the Benedictines were considered one of the finest ensembles in Catholic Europe. On major feast days, they performed for the public, local and visiting, with listeners sometimes so crowded into the public part (the chiesa esteriore) of the nun's church as nearly to suffocate. Much of the polyphony heard at S. Radegonda was written by one of it's musical sisters, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (1602- c.1677). Born in Milan to a well-off family, Cozzolani professed her vows at the monastery in 1620, and later served several times as prioress and abbess; her nieces, also Benedictines and singers at S. Radegonda, would perform at the house into the eighteenth century. Cozzolani published four editions of sacred works between 1640 and 1650, though unfortunately not all of them are extant. The music presented here is taken from her largest collection: Salmi a otto voci concertati [...] motetti, e dialoghi a Due, Tre, Quattro e Cinque voci, (Venice 1650). It is intriguing to note that Cozzolani signed the dedication of this print from Venice, a fact that would indicate the she must have left the convent and the city of Milan (with or without permission) to oversee her work's publication, an unprecedented and unrecorded breach of clausura in the history of cloistered nun composers. Cozzolani's collection contains a complete set of Vespers psalms for the major feasts of the year according to the Benedictine use.... The collection is an impressive one. In addition to the six Vespers psalms (Laudate pueri appears in two different scorings), the respond and two Magnificats (all written for eight voices except the second Laudate pueri), there are also nine non-liturgical motets for 1-5 voices. Two pieces call for two violins (despite certain ecclesiastical edicts forbidding their use within the convents). The most obvious feature of the psalm settings is the concertato writing in all the voices, with tutti sections balanced by florid solos, duets, and an occasional bassetto ensemble of three or four high voices. - Candace Smith, editor and director of Cappella Artemisia, Bologna The Vespers: Dixit Dominus At the beginning of this psalm setting the baroque concertato style, of which Candace Smith, speaks above, that of contrasting soloistic sections with homo-rhythmic choral sections, is displayed in telescopic form, but is then expanded to elucidate and differentiate the phrases. Cozzolani's word-painting skills are put to full use in this psalm setting: note the two lovely solos, "sede a dextris meis..." and "tecum principium..", the grand and all encompassing "omnes generationes", the militant "dominare.." and "conquassabit.." Cozzolani, like many composers of sacred music, loves the trinitarian number 3. Many of her phrases are repeated emphatically three times throughout this entire work, and in this piece she inserts the doxology (Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto) into the psalm text three times before saying it in full at the end, when the two choruses engage in dialogue even through the "Amen". Confitebor tibi Cozzolani sets this psalm rather simply with a bass ostinato which occurs three times in it's original form, and once in cleverly disguised triplet time ( the alto solo, "ut det illis haereditatem"). The final appearance of this theme is in the doxology itself: "sicut erat in principio...". Note again the word painting in "facta in veritate", or "et terribile nomen eius", or the wonderful trio with long suspensions, "initium sapientiae est timor Domini". Beatus vir qui timet Dominum One of Cozzolani's most interesting pieces, the Beatus vir turns the emphatic and uncompromising text on it's head by putting much of it in the form of questions and answers. For instance, at the very beginning the text reads "beatus vir - qui - qui beatus vit? - qui timet Dominum beatus vir?" With the returning refrain "beatus vir" she answers the question again and again, but the dialogue between a believer and a doubter continues throughout the piece, giving the impression that doubt is as much a part of belief as faith. Listen especially for the section beginning with one voice asking "Qui miseretur?" in duple time answered immediately by four voices singing "iocundus homo!" in triple time, followed again immediately by "et commodat?" in duple, and "iocundus homo" in triple, and so on. This device works particularly well in illustrating the dialogue Cozzolani wants us to ponder. To end this psalm she interrupts the fully choral trinitarian portion of the doxology ("gloria Patri, et filio, et spiritui sancto) with solo affirmations of it's eternity ("sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum"). Laudate Pueri This psalm setting begins in joyous triple time, with a jaunty bit of hemiola thrown in just to add to our delight. Cozzolani brings this initial musical idea back throughout the piece as she moves us through the psalm text, almost as a reminder of the joy the text expresses. Listen here for the solo, "a solis ortu...", a simple air accompanied by theorbo which seems to foreshadow Cherubini's simple love songs in Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro". Contrast with this is the alto solo "Suscitans a terra..." a strong endorsement of God's caring for the poor. "Qui habitare facem...", (the barren woman shall keep house and be a joyful mother) is also set with lots of dancing hemiola on the word "laetantem" (joyfully). It would appear that Cozzolani is reveling in the "barrenness" of the nunnery, that nuns may indeed take joy in their marriage to the Lord and their subsequent fulfillment as true women. Cozzolani once again uses interruption to suggest emphasis: the beginning theme "Laudate pueri" is joyfully troped into the doxology at the end of this piece. Dominum ad Adiuvandum Me Festina A short introduction to the Dixit Dominus, this piece is the concertato style in it's most basic form: the full chorus sings homorhythmic passages in triple time, contrasted against the soloistic sections in duple time. Cozzolani telescopes the changes so that they happen not over the length of a phrase or section but over a couple of measures. Textually too, she contrasts the word "festina" (haste) which is sung soloistically in sixteenth note runs, against "ad adiuvandum" (to help) sung by the full chorus in a dancing triple time. Magnificat - Cozzolani This most amazing piece of music is a study in the concertato style throughout, as each phrase takes it's own motif and meter. It begins immediately contrasting color as the tutti chorus sings the word "Magnificat" while a duet of sopranos takes to the skies with "Anima mea magnificat Dominum". The changes between triple and duple time are less frequent than in the previous psalm settings, however. Cozzolani provides contrast instead by frequently troping the "anima mea" text to emphasize the spirit of this particular psalm. Almost every phrase at some point is interrupted by "my soul magnifies the Lord". Word painting abounds again here, especially notable in the "sicut locutus est ad patres nostros". At last the contrasting prayerfulness of "anima mea..." is telescoped into the final doxology; this is a parenthetical admonition to us all not to forget to magnify the Lord, even as we say such rote words as a doxology. - Amelia LeClair Sonatas da chiesa We have the religious practice of the late renaissance and early baroque to thank for the rise and cultivation of that strain of music devoted to the pursuit of form over function. In contrast to the secular uses to which music could be put - dance, opera, love song - the intent of the instrumental music used during religious services was to heighten the effect of some of the more tedious bits of ritual and perhaps provoke thought and introspection. But such pure intentions were easily perverted. It remained true that the 'church' sonatas could be differentiated from 'chamber' sonatas by their fantasy with which they were structured as well as the lack of recognizable dance forms. However, as the century progressed the sonata da chiesa became equally full of the musical vitality that characterized that flesh-pot of artistic endeavor, opera. Over time, the music introduced to accompany (and, presumably, to ameliorate the tedium of) long strings of prayers, became preeminent so that it became customary for the recitation of the officiant to be given silently. In selecting sonatas to bind together Cozzolani's brilliantly differentiated Vespers, I have chosen to represent both the conservative and adventurous strains of North Italian instrumental music that would have been available to her should she have ever attempted a presentation such as tonight's. But whatever the style, at every level the composer is confronted by the age-old question, 'What comes next?' In the seventeenth century, the old answers no longer served and composers of the stil moderno, both in the vocal and instrumental spheres, were at perfect liberty (at sea, some might have said) to compose whatever served their fantasy or their purpose. While the generic 17th c. composer used the academic connotation of fugue (as opposed to garden-variety imitation, which, like talk, was cheap) to confer gravitas to selected movements, we also find at the same time an extraordinarily durable experimental vein in which the conjunctions of repose and activity, conventional and fantastic, banal and outré were routinely explored. As a form, the sonata da chiesa had to wait for the publication of Arcangelo Corelli's Opus 1 in 1681 to become the four-movement set-piece that later poured out of eighteenth-century pens as from buckets. In contrast, each sonata on tonight's program steps to it's own drummer. Short sections of intense harmonic drama hobnob with quicker, simpler sections and quick sections of dense chromatics may be balanced by serene slower episodes. Dario Castello (fl. 1st half of 17th c.), an ensemble leader at San Marco in Venice, published two books of sonatas in the 1620's, both characterized in stil moderno. Interestingly, these works received reprints through much of the seventeenth century. The first, Sonata 15 à 4, is interesting as a collection of four short canzonas strung together around a triple-time Adagio. The second, Sonata Sesta a doi, presents a stark contrast. For two voices, Castello is not shy about changes of mood, affect or texture. This really IS modern style! Giovanni Paolo Cima was, like Chiara Cozzolani, a Milanese. The 1610 publication Concerti Ecclesiastici contains a small number of instrumental works of which tonight's suits our forces admirably. In form it is far more conservative than those of Castello or Legrenzi. The parts-writing is scrupulously fair and the flow of ideas is as even and unperturbed as that of his slightly older contemporary, Giovanni Gabrieli. Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690) developed his art in Bergamo and Ferrara. During the mid 1670's he arrived in Venice. Legrenzi spent the last five years of his life as maestro di capella at St. Mark's, one of the most important musical positions in Europe. His collection La Cetra was published in Venice, in 1673. Both these sonatas exemplify the culmination of the multi-movement, fantastic style they share with Cozzolani's vespers but that was finally supplanted by the subsequent acceptance of Corelli's innovations. - Hendrik Broekman.