Cappella Artemisia - Portrait Of Leonarda | RECORD STORE DAY
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Portrait Of Leonarda
Artist: Cappella Artemisia
Format: CD

Details

Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Rel. Date: 08/26/2022
UPC: 5028421966267

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Suor Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704) was the most prolific woman composer of the 17th century. She published no fewer than 20 collections of motets and other sacred music, nearly 200 compositions spanning virtually every genre of sacred music of her time, as well as the only complete collection of instrumental works by an Italian woman in the 1600s. This recording is a tribute to her artistry. Born and baptized as Anna Isabella Leonardi on 6 Sept. 1620, she belonged to one of the most illustrious families of Novara. She studied at home before entering the Congregazione delle Vergini di S. Orsola at age 16. She took her vows three years later and remained in this convent until her death on February 25, 1704, at the age of 84. During her long life, Isabella served in all capacities: mater discreta et cancellaria, magistra musicae, superiora, and finally consigliera. She was clearly a woman of robust constitution and an iron will. This recording provides a portrait of Isabella Leonarda's vast and varied output, ranging from solo motets to a large-scale Psalm setting for voices, obbligato violins and basso continuo. Numerous works exemplify her "concertato" writing in their alternation of meter, tempo and texture between florid soloistic passages and more homophonic choral treatment. The absence of male voices is solved by the transposition of lower voices or the use of instruments. Cappella Artemisia, founded by Candace Smith in 1991, is an ensemble of women dedicated to performing the music of Italian convents of the 16th and 17th centuries. The repertoire includes both forgotten works composed by the nuns themselves, and music intended for performance in the convents by male composers, but presented as it would originally have been heard, i.e., without male voices.