Music by Lombard nuns of the 17th century
Seventeenth-century Lombardy was home to more published nun composers than anywhere else in Italy. Women such as Isabella Leonarda (author of 20 collections of vocal and instrumental music), her sister Ursuline nun and composer Maria Xaveria Perucona, Caterina Assandra (composer and dedicatee of various motet collections), Chiara Margarita Cozzolani and her conventual sister Rosa Giacinta Badalla, and other nun composers from Lombardy provide a portrait of a musical world which is today as fascinating as it is unknown. Rosa Mistica was awarded special mention by the Premio Vivaldi of the Fondazione Cini in Venice 1999.
“* * * * * Seven women composers, all new to the current catalogue, their music exquisitely sung – a delightful find.” (BBC Music Magazine)
“This is a refreshingly unusual recording, and not at all what I had expected from 17th-century Lombard convents. […] The music itself is full of delights, often reminiscent of Monteverdi, Grandi or Strozzi.” (Early Music Review)
“Una rarità, dunque, l’ascolto di queste pagine, raccomandate anche da una emissione vocale calibrata, in stile antico ma anche così comunicativa ed avvincente. Ad accompagnare le fresche voci gli strumenti d’epoca della apprezzabile Cappella Artemisia diretta da Candace Smith […] Un’operazione a metà tra il musicologico e lo storico-sociale: dunque, doppiamente riuscita.” (CD Classica)
“Varied in texture and style, these compositions are a wonderful introduction to a long-neglected repertoire. […] The voices of the Cappella Artemisia are all very different and highly individual – a quality which I greatly appreciate. […] This is not to say that the ensemble does not blend, for it does, and wonderfully so. ” (Musick; Early Music Vancouver)
“A lovely recital of music composed by Lombard nuns of the 17th century, beautifully sung and played by Candace Smith’s Cappella Artemisia. […] The great joy of this record is the inspiration which fills each bar. The tragedy is that so little of the sisters’ published works remain extant.”
(Early Music Society of Southern California)