(Boston) Cappella Clausura, the Boston based music organization dedicated to highlighting the work of female composers from the 9th century to today, has released a new video featuring a dazzling performance of Donna Chiara Margarita Cozzolani’s “Magnificat”. Cozzolani wrote the masterpiece while she was cloistered in an Italian convent in the 1650s. Cappella Clausura brought together 18 musicians, cloistered in their own homes, to perform in this video. It took six months to record and edit the video while in quarantine. Led by conductor Amelia LeClair, “Magnificat” is currently streaming on Cappella Clausura’s YouTube channel and available at Clausura.org.
Donna Chiara Margarita Cozzolani was an Italian Baroque nun who spent her entire adult life cloistered in the convent of Santa Radegonda, Milan. She wrote “Magnificat” for S. Radegonda’s Vespers service around 1650. The “Magnificat,” from the Gospel of Luke, tells the story of Mary being visited by an angel who tells her she is to be the mother of God.
The video began as a partnership between Director Amelia LeClair and videographer Christopher Pitts in March. LeClair recorded herself conducting the piece in silence and then sent the video along to Theorbo player Catherine Liddell who recorded the basso continuo (bass line & harmony). From there the incredibly talented singers of Cappella Clausura took over, individually recording their parts while watching the video of LeClair conducting, and listening to Liddell’s soundtrack. LeClair and Pitts then spent months stitching each video together to create the beautiful final project that is available today.
“This was a truly monumental task and Chris and I spent countless hours on Facetime calls with his iPhone camera aimed at his computer screen getting this video just right,” said Amelia LeClair, founder and Director of Cappella Clausura. “We are incredibly proud of the final product and grateful for Chris, our audio engineer James Zaner, and all of the performers who took part in this piece.”
Click Here to view “Magnificat” by Chiara Margarita Cozzolani
Performers in the video include:
Sopranos: Lisa Bloom, Abigail Haynes, Shannon Larkin, Carol Millard, Adriana Repetto, Janet Stone
Altos: Lisa Hadley, Barbara Hill, Teri Kowiak, Jennifer Webb
Tenors: Frank Campofelice, Francesco Logozzo, Fausto Miro, Eric Perry
Basses: Anthony Garza, Craig Juricka, Will Prapestis
Theorbo: Catherine Liddell
Director: Amelia LeClair
About Cappella Clausura:
Founded in 2004 by Choral Director Amelia LeClair to research, study and perform the music of women composers, award-winning Cappella Clausura brings exquisite performances of music by women to today’s audiences, fostering an appreciation of the role of women as composers throughout history, and bringing women composers into the classical canon. Cappella Clausura’s repertoire extends from the earliest known music by women, dating from the 9th century, to modern music. The core of the vocal ensemble is eight-to-sixteen singers who perform a cappella, and with period instruments appropriate to the repertoire. Both singers and players are drawn from Boston’s superb pool of freelancers, all accomplished professionals who perform widely as soloists and ensemble musicians in Greater Boston and beyond.
Cappella Clausura’s name was inspired by the many gifted and musically educated cloistered nuns (“in clausura”) in 17th century Italy, such as Raffaella Aleotti, Chiara Cozzolani, Bianca Maria Meda, Caterina Assandra, Sulpitia Cesis, and more. It continues to serve as a metaphor for the cultural obstacles faced by women composers throughout history, and even to the present day.