Sulpitia Cesis, 1577-after 1619


Image is not biographical

Selected Recordings


Maria Magdalena et altera Maria

Selected Sheet Music

Maria Magdalena et Altera Maria

Source:  Artemisia Editions

Notes and Background

Sulpitia Lodovica Cesis was an Italian composer and well-regarded lutenist who was born in Modena, Italy, in 1577. She was a nun at the convent of Saint Geminiano in Modena, although some scholars report it as Saint Agostino. Her only known work is a volume of eight-part Motetti Spirituali, which she wrote in 1619, although some scholars think it might have been written earlier than that because of its style. It is composed of 23 motets for 2–12 voices.

Her work is different than other works written at this time because it contains indications for instruments such as cornetts, trombones, violones, and archviolones. A bass part exists as well, which is interesting considering that this music was written for a group of cloistered nuns. One explanation is that this part was for the organ or viola da gamba.

Cesis dedicated her collection to another nun of the same name, Anna Maria Cesis, who lived at the Convent of Santa Lucia in Rome. Both Sulpitia Cesis’s and Anna Maria Cesis’s convents were well known for their music.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

The Cesis collection of Motetti spirituali is an important body of music both for the generally high quality of the works it contains and for the information it provides regarding performance practice in Italian convents in the early seventeenth century.—Excerpted from Alexander Street

Books and Music

Selected Books

Divas in the Convent
Univ. of Chicago Press, 2012
Craig Monson
$17.49 on Amazon


Nuns Behaving Badly
Univ. of Chicago Press, 2011
Craig Monson
$15.68 on Amazon


Selected Music

Cesis-3a Spiritual Motets (2003), 1 CD

Complete Works

1. Hodie Gloriosus
2. Cantate Domino
3. Io So Ferito Si
4. Jubilate Deo
5. Il Mio Piu Vago Sole
6. Pecco Signore
7. Salve Gemma Confessorum
8. O Crux Splendidior
9. Cantemus Domino
10. Angelus Ad Pastores
11. Benedictus Dominus
12. Dulce Nomen Jesu Christe
13. Stabat Mater
14. Hic Est Beatissimus
15. Quest’e La Bella
16. O Domine Jesu Christe
17. Sub Tuum Praesidium
18. Maria Magdalena
19. Ecce Ego Joannes
20. Puer Qui Natus Est
21. Magi Videntes Stellam
22. Ascendo Ad Patrem
23. Parvulus Filius

Other women Baroque composers

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