Cappella Clausura’s Spring Concert: Outside The Walls

Cappella’s music has recently been described by the Boston Globe as “personal and inviting, extravagant and intimate…eavesdrop on paradise.”
Concert Dates/Locations:
Saturday, May 12, 8PM, Parish of the Messiah, 1900 Commonwealth Av., Newton
Saturday, May 19, at 8PM, University Lutheran, 66 Winthrop St., Cambridge
Sunday, May 20, 4PM, First Church in Jamaica Plain, 6 Eliot St., Jamaica Plain
Director Amelia LeClair 617-964-6609 or
$15 – $25. Purchase online at or at the door
Cappella Clausura presents Outside the Walls, an imagining of an Italian 17th century salon-like performance where the music, religious in nature, would have been sung by men and women in mixed company, yet written by nuns behind the convent walls.
Originally written for female voices, to be sung within the cloister, this music was then arranged by the nuns for mixed voices, to appeal to a wider public. Although scholars don’t know how the music reached the major regional publishing houses of their day (many in Venice), they do know the music existed, was lost for centuries and only rediscovered through the writings of past music aficionados, music-lovers who traveled to hear these
works and circulated their reviews.
Clausura presents this passionate, harmonically rich choral music as it might have been performed by men and women or possibly men and boys in homes and churches. Director Amelia LeClair worked from original manuscipts and modern editions, arranging tempi, dynamics and instrumental parts from what she calls a
spare, “blueprint” score. Beginning with a chant by 9th century Greek composer Kassia, the concert moves on to works by the mistresses of Early Baroque composition: Chiara Cozzolani, Raffaella Aleotti, Bianca Maria Meda, Lucretia Vizzana, Caterina Assandra, and Sulpitia Cesis. The works range from duets to 8-part pieces for voice and instruments: harpsichord, organ, gamba and theorbo.
Cappella Clausura brings to light works written by women from the 8th century to the present day: twelve centuries of “new” music. While this ensemble of sopranos, altos, and period instruments performs music solely by women composers, and champions living composers, it concentrates on repertoire by women in the cloister – clausura – during the Italian baroque period. During this extraordinary time, women were allowed to express themselves spiritually and artistically, and to publish their own music. Clausura’s intention is to dispel the notion that there are not now nor have there ever been gifted women composers. History has been blind and
deaf to these remarkable works; Cappella Clausura brings vision and voice to them.
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