Spiritual Conversations
Chiara Margarita Cozzolani and the Sacred Dialogue

The very popular genre of the sacred dialogue held a place of honor within the convents of cloistered Italian nuns. The theatrical element of personalized discourse featuring a variety of personages held a great attraction in the depersonalized world of the monastery. Mary Magdalene and the Virgin, shepherds, angels, demons, lost souls and even Christ himself–all were portrayed by the musical sisters within the convent walls. This program presents a number of dialogues for various forces, some of which were written by male composers and dedicated to the nun. Pride of place, however, goes to the multifarious and remarkable works of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, one of the most prolific and gifted of all the nun composers of the Italian Seicento.

This program, with an ensemble of 4 voices, viola da gamba and organ, was premiered with great success at the Flanders Festival in Alden-Biesen in June 2007, and is also available with larger forces involving up to 8 voices and 4 basso continuo instruments.