WEEP AND REJOICE: Music for Holy Week from the Convents of 17th-century ItalyBrilliant Classics 94638
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The Passion of Christ and the celebration of his Resurrection held great importance for Italian nuns of the late 16th and 17th centuries. This program presents music composed by and for Italian nuns which these cloistered "brides of Christ" would have performed during Holy Week and Easter Sunday. The nun composers represented include S. Cesis, C.M. Cozzolani, R. Aleotti, M.X. Perucona. L.O. Vizzana, C.F. Rusca, I. Leonarda, and R.G. Badalla. The better known male composers who dedicated their works to these women include Banchieri, Cazzati, Rota, Arresti, Massenzio, Massaino, Legrenzi and others. Polyphonic pieces for both large and small forces as well as solo motets are presented, notably a Lamentation of Jeremiah for solo voice composed by the Sienese nobleman Alessandro Della Ciaia (a daring work which belongs to the long folk tradition of wives lamenting the death of their husbands). Also featured are dramatic dialogues involving various personages of the Passion, and a madrigal by the great Claudio Monteverdi revisited as a sacred contrafactum intended specifically for convent usage. This recording involves an ensemble of 8 voices, a large continuo section and even transverse flutes.