Several female composers achieved some slight renown in 17th-century Italy, but none was more widely known or praised than the extraordinary Barbara Strozzi. This famously virtuoso singer wrote herself truly imaginative, compelling music–the wide-ranging, fluttering runs of the wedding song "Gite, o giorni dolenti," the passionate anguish and the unsettling chromatic turns in the melody of "Lagrime mie," the coquettish humor of "La sol fa mi re do," and on and on. For this "portrait of Barbara Strozzi," Catherine Bott gives a spectacular performance, encompassing the wide range (both vocal and emotional) and technical challenges of this music with ease and dramatic flair.
The members of the ensemble La Venexiana won in 1994 the Gramophone Award for Early Music under the name Concerto Italiano. They are some of the most experienced European performers in the early music field, and have been singing together for many years, establishing a new style in Italian early music performances: a warm, truly Mediterranean blend of textual declamation, textural color and harmonic refinement. This repertoire seems to be created as if to let them fully show their expressive powers. Barbara Strozzi's talent shines in this pieces, designed to show her excepcional dramatic powers and unique gifts for musical imaginery. Many of these madrigals have the appearance of a succession of operatic scenes in miniature, each with its particular dramatic atmosphere and with the participation of several soloists.
Voglio cantar – ‘I want to sing’ – is Emőke Baráth’s first solo album for Erato. The young Hungarian soprano has built a special reputation in Baroque music and the prime focus here is on Barbara Strozzi, who made her name as a composer in 17th century Venice. “She must have been quite a revolutionary personality,” says Emőke Baráth. “Her music is improvisational, intuitive, even rhapsodic … She was clearly a passionate woman with a strong dramatic sense.” Baráth is joined by Il Pomo d’Oro, conducted by Francesco Corti.
This is the only recording of sacred music by the extraordinary 17th-century Venetian singer and composer Barbara Strozzi. The Latin works in her collection Sacri Affetti Musicali were entirely suitable for church performance–something Strozzi herself, as a woman outside a convent, was forbidden to do. Most likely she performed these pieces as "spiritual recreation" at meetings of the "Academy of the Unisons" founded by her father, a well-known poet.
Eleven imaginative and melodically striking vocal pieces from a collection published in 1660, towards the end of the relatively short life of one of the most famous female composers, Barbara Strozzi. Ranging in length from two minutes to 14 and with a variety of moods to match, they are performed with feeling (though not a lot of colour) by Emanuela Galli with jangling support from Ensemble Galilei’s three guitars, four theorbos and (only one) organ. The haunting Lagrime mie is alone worth the price of the disc.
An homage to some of the most famous musicians of the 16th and 17th centuries, this album pairs composers such as Barbara Strozzi, Claudia Sessa and Maddalena Casulana with two contemporary composers: Alberto and Leonardo Schiavo. Music from the past and the present, in dialogue. The idea is to discover (or rediscover) these works and mutually enrich them. The musical language adopted for these arrangements never strays too far from their original sonorities, but on the other had it is not a simple transcription, but an interpretation of a repertoire that is more relevant than ever, and consequently a source of inspiration and raw material for contemporary composers.
The Donne Barocche, or Baroque Women, featured here are not singers or operatic characters, but composers, and the album, originally released on the Opus 111 label in 2001 and rescued for reissue by Naïve broke new ground when it first appeared. All of the music comes from the last third of the 17th century and the first decade of the 18th. The names of composer/singer Barbara Strozzi and French keyboardist Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre were known to enthusiasts of the history of women's music and were beginning to receive mainstream performances, but the other four composers represented were new to all but scholars, and the big news was a program of music as varied in concept and affect as any by the male composers of the period.