Obsidian Records is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Musica Secreta and Celestial Sirens.
Far from being silent, Renaissance convents were among the most active musical institutions in Europe. In this ground-breaking CD, Musica Secreta delves into the mysterious world of early sixteenth-century convent music.
The discovery of anonymous motets in a book entitled Musica quinque vocum motteta materna lingua vocata (1543) has pushed back the date of the earliest known polyphonic music for convents by 50 years. The book also raises tantalising questions about the motets' authorship.
New research suggests that some of these motets were composed by the abbess of the convent of Corpus Domini in Ferrara, Suor Eleanora d'Este, a woman of prodigious musical skill with a unique lineage. She was the daughter of Lucrezia Borgia, a woman cast by popular history as a notorious femme fatale; often portrayed as beautiful and power-hungry, Lucrezia was married to a succession of wealthy men. The convent offered a very different way of life for her only daughter, however, and these unique motets offer a vision of the 16th century convent as a place for religious celebration, contemplation and exceptional music-making.
These motets were recorded for the first time in the summer of 2016 for Obsidian records, performed by Musica Secreta and Celestial Sirens and directed by Laurie Stras and Deborah Roberts.