O superbi mundi machina à 3
Gaude plaude à 4
Music by Nun Composers in Lombardy
Maria Xaveria Perucona is one of eight 17th-century nuns from the northern Italian province of Lombardy whose published works are extant. She, like so many of her cloistered sisters, is known for a single publication, printed at a relatively young age, after which she is unfortunately never heard from again.
Perucona (or Parruccona) was born to a noble family in 1652.
At the age of 16, she entered the Collegio of Sant’Orsola in Galliate (near Novara, then in the province of Lombardy but now considered part of Piedmont). In 1675 she published in Milan her only known collection: Sacri concerti de motetti a una, due, tre, e quattro voci, parte con Violini, e parte senza.
The collection contains eighteen motets for 2-4 voices, some with two violins (an interesting fact considering the usual restrictions on such instruments within the convents).
Two of these motets have been included in this volume, and are for three and four voices, respectively.
O superbi mundi machina, marked De comune, is originally scored for 2 sopranos and bass, while Gaude plaude, "per S[anta] Verg[ine] e M[artire]", is written for 2 sopranos, alto and bass. In our version for female voices, the bass parts of both these motets have been transposed up to be sung by altos.