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Cozzolani Concerti Sacri to be released in June

Magnificat and Musica Omnia are pleased to announce the release of Concerti Sacri, the second volume of the complete works of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani. The digital tracks are already available for download at music.cozzolani.com and the physical CDs will be released at the Boston Early Music Festival in June. This double CD set marks the completion of Magnificat’s project to record all of Cozzolani’s works that survive complete. Volume I, Salmi a Otto Voci, was released in June 2010. The cover artwork is an oil painting on gold leaf by Magnificat creative director Nika Korniyenko.

The recording is dedicated to the memory of Judith Nelson. While Judy’s voice is not heard on these recordings, her spirit – the honesty of her artisrty and the warmth and sincerity of her musicianship  – is present throughout. It was Judy who introduced me to Donna Chiara and the performance of O quam bonus es with her in 1997 was the catalyst for all the love and energy we’ve shared with Cozzolani in the years that followed, for which we are all deeply grateful.

Sixteen of the tracks on Concerti Sacri have been available digitally for over a year, while nine tracks are available now for the first time. For those who have purchased the digital recording without the new tracks, or for those who would like to hear only the new tracks they are available independently here. As always those pre-ordering the CD will receive the digital tracks as well as the CD.

Published in 1642, Concerti sacri was Cozzolani’s second collection, her first, Primavera di fiori musicalifrom 1640, is sadly lost. Cozzolani dedicated the collection to the single most important patron of singers in northern Italy, Prince Matthias de’ Medici, who seems to have heard Cozzolani’s pieces in winter 1641 while on a stay in the city. While this is the only dedication of sacred music to Matthias, he was a generous patron of singers and composers associated with early Venetian opera and established a troupe in Siena in 1646. In the absence of music theatre in Milan until after mid-century, the prince could well have visited the institutions best known for singing – the convents.

The wide variety of topics in the collection point to no single specific occasion for the performance of its contents, other than Matthias’s putative visit. The motets represent the most modern style of Lombard vocal writing of the the 1630s and 40s, while the setting of the mass ordinary displays some of the most elaborate imaitative writing found in her music. The recording features Elizabeth Anker, alto; Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano; Hugh Davies, bass; John Dornenburg, violone; Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano; Ruth Escher, soprano; Andrea Fullington, soprano; Laura Heimes, soprano; Suzanne Jubenville, alto; Jennifer Lane, alto; Linda Liebschutz, alto; Deborah Rentz-Moore, alto; David Tayler, theorbo; Hanneke van Proosdij, organ; and Catherine Webster, soprano. It was recorded by Musica Omnia at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere with Peter Watchorn, producer and Joel Gordon, engineer.

This recording could not have happened without the generous support of Kristine Holmes, Valerie and Paul Crane Dorfman and Donna Curling. Robert Kendrick, whose excellent research has brought Cozzolani’s music to the attention of musicians and musicologists, has been extremely helpful throughout this project. I am forever grateful to Dr. William Mahrt for sharing his knowledge of chant and liturgy. Special thanks to Michael Barger, Edgar Breninnkmeyer, Stephen DeLapp, Margriet Downing, Meriel Ennik, Richard Fabian, Katherine Gavzy, John Golenski, Michael King, Dorothy Manly, Peter McGrath, Dorothy McMath, Benjamin Netick, Charles Thiel, RuthE Wells, My Dutch Uncle, San Francisco Grants for the Arts and to all the friends of Magnificat who have supported this project. I would also like to thank Brandy Leigh Mow, Jeffrey Kurtzman, John Hirten, Robin Burger, Miriam Lewis, Ronald Chase, John Dornenburg & Louise Carslake, David Smith & Andrea Lappen, Doris & Joe Willingham, Robert Friedman and Tchocky. And my deepest gratitude to Nika Korniyenko for her love and inspiration and for making us look good all these years.

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