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Artemisia Editions
Artemisia Editions was created by Candace Smith and Bruce Dickey to complement the work of the Italian ensemble Cappella Artemisia, a group of women dedicated to performing music from Italian convents of the 16th and 17th centuries. Extensive research has unearthed a startling amount of music either written by or dedicated to these cloistered nuns — music whose quality reflects the remarkably high standards of the original performances as described in the chronicles of numerous historians and travelers in Italy.

Artemisia Editions would like to make available to modern performers a part of this fascinating and virtually unknown repertoire. In particular, we want to stress the historic uniqueness of its intended performance by cloistered nuns, that is, without male voices. Indeed, the singular musical situation in which these women found themselves leaves us with a thorny problem of performance practice: the music written for and by the nuns often includes parts for tenors and basses. How, then, was this music performed? Or indeed, who’s on bass?

The solution of Artemisia Editions involves providing two alternative versions of each edition: an original version for mixed voices as it was first published, and a convent version providing a hypothetical reconstruction for women’s voices, as it might have been sung by the nuns. Some of the music will be appropriate for women’s choral ensembles, some of it for ensembles of soloists, and some of it for a combination of soloists and instruments.

Each edition includes an historical introduction, Latin texts with English translations, critical notes, and suggestions for performance practice. All original basso continuo parts have been simply but carefully realized and the original figures retained.