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    Volume I of the complete works of Chiara Magdalena Cozzolani contains all the works in her 1650 publication Salmi a Otto Voci. The double CD set includes texts and English translations, liner notes by Robert Kendrick and album artwork by Nika Korniyenko.

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Warren Stewart, artistic director

Catherine Webster, soprano
Andrea Fullington, soprano
Suzanne Jubenville, alto
Karen Clark, tenor (alto)
David Tayler, theorbo
Hanneke van Proosdij, organ

The Cozzolani Project's first new release is one of the composer’s most immediately appealing works, in which she vividly captures the brilliance and wonder of the Christmas narrative. The anonymous text alludes to Luke 2:10 and 14, and in Cozzolani’s hands it is infused with a gleeful exuberance and a touch of chromatic mystery. The Angels (two sopranos) are “glorious” and the shepherds (scored for alto and tenor) are at first astonished and then jubilant.

In a theatrical gesture at the end of her Christmas dialogue Gloria in altissimis, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani instructs the four singers to “soften the voice as if, little by little, going away” in imitation of the Angelic choir disappearing as they ascend back to Heaven after announcing their good news to the awestruck shepherds.

Gloria in altissimis is designated in the part books (download facsimile) as a “Dialogue between the angels and the shepherds, for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord” (Dialogo fra gli Angeli, ed I Pastori, nella Natività di N.S.). Robert Kendrick observed that “of all the new genres found in Seicento Milan, the dialogue was the most central, a phenomenon evident in Cozzolani’s motet books…providing a vehicle for the expression of individual affect, whether of generic figures, scriptural characters, or historical saints…” The dialogue embodied the idea of direct communication between humans and the divine that dominated Milanese spiritual writing of the first half of the 17th Century.

Eight of Cozzolani’s works are explicitly designated as “dialogues”, four in each of the two surviving collections. As Kendrick notes, The range of works so designated is remarkable, encompassing as it does acclamatory (Psallite superi, O caeli cives), biblical (Gloria in altissimis for Christmas, Maria Magdalene stabat for Easter), consolatory (Ave mater dilectissima), and liturgical (Beatus vir) settings, as well as the only two penitential motets in Cozzolani’s entire output (O mi domine, and Quid miseri).


Text & Translation

Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis. Agite, pastores! Expergiscimini, accurite, videte, adorate!

Quæ nova lux? Quæ læta vox? Quis nuntius alacer?

Angelo Primo
Ecce vobis gaudium magnum: ecce de cælo labitur Deus, nascitur Deus; ecce splendor patris, ecce candor lucis æternæ terras irradiat, homines visitat.

Pastore Primo
O beata nox, O lucidæ tenebræ, O dulce, O canorum noctis silentium!

Angelo Secondo
Vobis edicitur virginis partus, verbi nativitas. Vobis indicitur jubilus mentis, cordis jucunditas, aurea pax, serenitas, tranquilitas, gloria.

Pastore Secondo
O felices nos! O dicite, cives cælici, ostendite verbum quod factum est, reserate mysterium, revelate miraculum.

Agite, ergo, agite, pastores! Expergiscimini, accurite, venite, adorate!


Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will. Come, shepherds! Awake yourselves, hurry, behold, adore!

What new light, what happy voice is this, who is this joyous messenger?

First Angel
Behold a great joy for you: behold, God arrives from heaven, and is born; behold the splendor of the father, behold the brightness of eternal light illuminates the earth, and dwells among men.

First Shepherd
O blessed night, O bright shadows, O sweet, melodious silence of the night.

Second Angel
The virgin’s son is given to you, the nativity of the word; to you is given the joy of the soul, the happiness of the heart, golden peace, serenity, tranquillity, glory.

Second Shepherd
O happy we! O tell us, heavenly citizens, show us the word that has been made, unveil the mystery, reveal to us the miracle.

So come, shepherds, come! Awaken, hurry, come , adore!



from Cozzolani Salmi a otto voci (1650), released June 30, 2013
Peter Watchorn, producer
Joel Gordon, engineer


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Magnificat San Francisco, California

For 20 years Magnificat has explored the emotionally charged music of the 17th Century, each season bringing together an assembly of internationally recognized musicians to present innovative programs that inspire the imagination. With dramatic flair and sensitivity to historical context, Magnificat imbues each concert with an infectious joy and a delight in musical make-believe. ... more

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