|Bianca Maria Meda|
|Two motets for 4 voices|
|Ardete, celestes flammæ||SATB/Bc||or||SAAA/Bc|
Price: €17 or $17USD
The two motets in this edition come from Bianca Maria Meda’s only known work, the Mottetti a 1, 2, 3, e 4 voci, con violini. This motet collection, published in Bologna in 1691, contains twelve pieces: two solos (with paired violin accompaniment), two duets, four trios and four quartets (SATB). Though little is known of Meda’s life, she was a nun in the monastery of San Martino del Leano, in Pavia.
The two motets presented here were intended for performance within the context of a church service. The texts are written in the first person feminine and express an intimate relationship between the speaker and Christ that identifies the female subject as a cloistered nun. It is probable that these texts were written by a nun from "il Leano," and quite possible that they were written by Meda herself. The texts are an example of imitatio Christi - the desire to suffer as a way of demonstrating passion for, and devotion to, Christ - a common trope in the contemporary writings of women religious.
Musically, these motets contrast solo or duet passages with four-part tutti sections, and triple sections with duple. In the version for women’s voices the bass parts of both motets have been transposed up an octave, while the tenor part is transposed up only in one piece.