One of the ongoing Twitter hashtag groups I participate with is #ClassicsaDay. The idea’s pretty simple: post a link to a classical work, and – in the body of the tweet – provide a little info about it.
For March, some of the participants decided to celebrate the role of women in classical music. We used an additional hashtag #WomensHistoryMonth to ensure a wider audience.
My goal was to make the case that “women composers” is hardly a late-20th-century phenomenon. Women have been writing music as long as there has been a notation for it. Here’s the list of women composers and their works I shared during #WomensHistoryMonth
Part 2: The Baroque Period (1600-1750)
Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana (1590–1662) – O invictissima Christi Martir
– Vizzana was a Camaldolese nun. She was a singer, organist, and composer, all of which was done inside (and for) her convent. Her collection of sacred motets, published in 1623, reflected the stile moderne — the “new style” of the Baroque.
Claudia Sessa (c. 1570–between 1613 and 1619) Vattene pur
– Sessa was another Italian composer who spent her musical life in a nunnery. Two of her works were published in 1613.
Claudia Rusca (1593–1676) – Jubilate Deo
– Rusca was an Umiliate nun, and her music was written for performance in monasteries. The only contemporary copy of her 1530 collection, Sacri concerti was destroyed in WWII.
Chiara Margarita Cozzolani (1602–1678) – Messa Paschale
– Cozzolani was a Benedictine nun, as well as a singer, organist and composer. She was a prolific composer, and had several works published in her lifetime.
Leonora Duarte (1610–1678) – Sinfonia No. 1
– Duarte was a Flemish composer and string player. Most of her surviving works are for viol consort.
Sulpitia Cesis (fl. 1619) – Stabat mater
– Cesis was a talented lutenist and composer. She became an Augustinian nun, and her only surviving work is a collection of sacred music published in 1619.
Barbara Strozzi (1619–1677) – Sino alla morte
– Daughter of poet Guilio Strozzi, Barabara was one of the most prolific composers in Venice. Eight collections of her music were published in her lifetime. Strozzi also hosted intellectual and artistic gatherings in the family home, and led musical performances.
Antonia Bembo (c. 1640–1720) – Lamento della Vergine
– Bembo was a renowned singer as well as a composer. She sang for Louis XIV, and dedicated several of her compositions to him. Bembo composed both sacred music, and secular works — including operas.
Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665–1729) – Cantata: L’Isle de Delos
– Elisabeth was child prodigy at the harpsichord, and soon caught the attention of the French court. She composed a large quantity of instrumental and vocal works, all of which were published in her lifetime. Elisabeth was well-known in Paris and was considered on par with Lully.
Rosanna Scalfi Marcello (1704 or 1705–after 1742) – Clori ho sempre nel core
– Rosanna was married to Venetian composer Benedetto Marcello. She was an accomplished singer, and composed twelve cantatas, mostly set to her own texts.
Camilla de Rossi (fl. 1707–1710) – Sinfonia from “Il Sacrifizio di Abramo”
– Little is known of de Rossi. Her four surviving oratorios were commissioned by Emperor Joseph I of Austria and performed for him.
Julie Pinel (fl.1710-1737) – Air for Violin
– Pinel was a French harpsichord teacher as well as a composer. A collection of her music was published in 1737.