Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

In the Shadow of Monteverdi

Donald Macleod focuses on Strozzi's upbringing among the grandest artistic circles in 17th-century Venice, where she met important composers such as Monteverdi and Cavalli.

This week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Barbara Strozzi. She was one of the most important composers of Italian cantatas in the seventeenth century and, probably, also a Venetian courtesan. Documentary evidence relating to Strozzi's life is scarce, but we know she was born in Venice and was likely the illegitimate daughter of librettist and poet, Giulio Strozzi. Through him, Barbara came into contact with Monteverdi and later Cavalli who'd be her teacher. She was also introduced to the literati of Venice, whom she would sing for, and act as mistress of ceremonies for their meetings of the Accademia degli Unisoni, established by her father. Strozzi published eight collections of vocal works during her lifetime containing over one hundred works in total, and her music travelled as far as Austria, Germany and England. Dr Sara Pecknold joins Donald Macleod to help lift the veil on this elusive composer.

Barbara Strozzi was fortunate to grow up in a household where she'd meet visitors such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, and other famous Venetian artists of the time. Her mother, Isabella Garzoni, was the long-term servant of the librettist Giulio Strozzi, and may have been a courtesan. Barbara Strozzi was possibly educated in one of Venice's famous ospedali, but she also mentioned in one of her publications that she was taught music by the composer Cavalli. Giulio Strozzi was keen for his illegitimate daughter to be educated to increase her future prospects, but this may also have involved grooming her for the life of a courtesan.

L'Eraclito amoroso, Op 2 No 14
Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor
Le Concert d'Astrée
Emmanuelle Haïm, director, harpsichord, organ

Hor che Apollo è a Teti in seno, Op 8 No 3
Susanne Rydén, soprano
Musica Fiorita

Begli occhi, Op 3 No 9
Christine Brandes, soprano
Jennifer Lane, mezzo-soprano
New York Baroque
Eric Milnes, director

Cor donato, cor rubbato, Op 3 No 10
Christine Brandes, soprano
Jennifer Lane, mezzo-soprano
Kurt-Owen Richards, bass
New York Baroque
Eric Milnes, director

Canto de bella bocca, Op 1 No 2
Emma Kirkby, soprano
Evelyn Tubb, soprano
Alan Wilson, harpsichord
Anthony Rooley, director and lute

Mater Anna, Op 5 No 1
Maria Cristina Kiehr, soprano
Concerto Soave

Producer Luke Whitlock.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 23 Apr 2018 12:00

Music Played

  • Barbara Strozzi

    L’Eraclito amoroso

    Performer: Emmanuelle Haïm. Singer: Philippe Jaroussky. Ensemble: Le Concert d’Astrée. Conductor: Emmanuelle Haïm.
    • Erato: 5190442.
    • Erato.
    • 3.
  • Barbara Strozzi

    Hor che Apollo e a Teti in seno

    Singer: Susanne Rydén. Ensemble: Musica Fiorita.
    • Harmonia Mundi:HMC905249.
    • Harmonia Mundi.
    • 6.
  • Barbara Strozzi

    Begli Occhi

    Singer: Christine Brandes. Singer: Jennifer Lane. Director: Eric Milnes.
    • Dorian: DOR93218.
    • Dorian.
    • 4.
  • Barbara Strozzi

    Cor donato, Cor rubbato

    Performer: Eric Milnes. Singer: Christine Brandes. Singer: Jennifer Lane. Singer: Kurt-Owen Richards.
    • Dorian: DOR93218.
    • Dorian.
    • 2.
  • Barbara Strozzi

    Canto de bella bocca

    Performer: Alan Wilson. Singer: Emma Kirkby. Singer: Mary Nichols. Director: Anthony Rooley.
    • Deutsche Harmonia Mundi RD77154.
    • Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.
    • 11.
  • Barbara Strozzi

    Mater Anna

    Ensemble: Concerto Soave. Singer: María Cristina Kiehr.
    • EMPREINTES DIGITALES : ED 130-48.
    • EMPREINTES DIGITALES.
    • 4.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.