The spiritual motets of Sulpitia Cesis (1619)
Tactus 572801 [See also www.tactus.it]
8 voices, cornetts, trombones, bc (organ, theorbo, viola da gamba, violone)
This recording presents the complete collection of 23 motets for 2-12 voices composed by Sulpitia Cesis, a nun and lutenist in the Augustinian convent of S. Geminiano in Modena. This collection is remarkable not only for the generally high quality of the music it contains but also for the presence of specific indications in the partbooks for various instruments including cornetts and trombones, "forbidden entities" within the convent walls. In this world premiere recording, Cappella Artemisia employs the largest ensemble of any of its recordings: 8 voices, cornetts, trombones, theorbo, viola da gamba, violone and organ—an entirely female ensemble of 16 musicians.
Artistic: *****; Tecnical: *****
Listening to these compositions, so rich in sweetness and in abandon, almost in languor, there come to mind visions of medieval saints, testimony of an immense love of the sacred, though not lacking in physical as well as spiritual involvement. The interpretation is noteworthy: entirely female, reaching towards the celestial colors of the high range and skillfully and stylistically sculpted with suppleness. (Amadeus)
"Spiritual Beauty": The results are fabulous: a sound spectrum which reaches from the jubilant brilliance of luminous high notes to the inner gentleness and sensuous guttural timbres of the low ranges. [...]. On the whole, the discovery of such precious and interesting works is an important event at a high level of interpretation. Transparent and strongly luminous, but also shaded with nuance when necessary, the performers find the unique expressivity of this music: its mystic light, its spiritual beauty, its sacred resonance. (Martin Mezger, Concerto)
**** This is an excellent recording of a conservative but compelling voice from the cloister. (Craig Zeichner, Goldberg)