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Francesca Caccini’s music is used as a political weapon by the Medici

Francesca Caccini’s music is used as a political weapon by the Medici, presented by Donald Macleod.

Francesca Caccini has been hailed as the first female composer to write an opera. However this isn’t necessarily true. The work in question, La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina, was written for the theatre and is almost entirely sung, but academics now believe that this is not an opera. What we do know is that Francesca Caccini was the daughter, sister, wife and mother of a family of singers, and was one of the most prolific composers of her time. She was employed at the Medici court in Florence in the early seventeenth century, and rose to become the highest paid musician on the Medici payroll. This week Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Francesca Caccini and her circle, such as her father Giulio Caccini, and other composers including Jacopo Peri, Lorenzo Allegri, and Marco da Gagliano.

Francesca Caccini’s court obligations in Florence were highly demanding. By 1619 she was writing to the court officials complaining that her recent workload had been very great with teaching, performing and composing. Not only was she busy working, but in 1622 Caccini also became a mother. Just a few years later Caccini would receive a commission to write a stage work, La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina, that would immortalise her in the future as the first women to compose an opera. Although the work may not be an opera, it was a work of sheer spectacle and was intended to demonstrate the power of the Medici women at that time. This stage work became very popular in its day, and was even translated into Polish.

Fresche aurette
Shannon Mercer, soprano
Sylvain Bergeron, theorbo
Amanda Keesmaat, cello
Luc Beauséjour, organ

Dov’ io credea
Ingrid Matthews, baroque violin
Byron Schenkman, harpsichord

Nube gentil
Josh Lee, viola da gamba
Jeffrey Grossman, harpsichord

Marco da Gagliano
Venite gentes
Ensemble Jacqves Moderne
Joël Suhubiette, director

Marco da Gagliano
Quem vidistis pastores
Ensemble Jacqves Moderne
Joël Suhubiette, director

Marco da Gagliano
O quam pulchra es
Ensemble Jacqves Moderne
Joël Suhubiette, director

Jacopo Peri
Lameno di Iole
Montserrat Figueras, soprano
Hespèrion XXI
Jodri Savall, director

Marco da Gagliano
La Flora (Valli profonde)
Nigel Rogers, tenor
Colin Tilney, organ
Anthony Bailes, chitarrone
Jordi Savall, viola da gamba
Pere Ros, violin

Francesca Caccini
La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (Per la piùvaga e bella)
Heike Pichler-Trosits, soprano
La Villanella Basel

Lasciatemi qui solo
Heike Pichler-Trosits, soprano
La Villanella Basel

Te lucis ante terminum
Luc Beauséjour, organ

O che nuovo stupor
Max van Egmond, bass
Ricercar Consort

Producer Luke Whitlock

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Amanda Keesmaat & Luc Beauséjour

    Fresche aurette

    • ANALEKTA AN29966.
    • ANALEKTA.
    • 18.
  • Francesca Caccini

    Dov'io credea le mie speranze

    Performer: Ingrid Matthews.
    • Centaur CRC2529.
    • Centaur.
    • 10.
  • Francesca Caccini

    Dov'io credea le mie speranze

    Performer: Ingrid Matthews.
    • Centaur CRC2529.
    • Centaur.
    • 10.
  • John Lee Hooker

    Nube gentil

    • Avie AV2326.
    • Avie.
    • 9.
  • John Lee

    Nube gentil

    • Avie AV2326.
    • Avie.
    • 9.
  • Montserrat Figueras, Hespèrion XXI & Jodri Savall

    Lameno di Iole

    • Alia Vox AV9815.
    • Alia Vox.
    • 6.
  • Montserrat Figueras & Jodri Savall

    Lameno di Iole

    • Alia Vox AV9815.
    • Alia Vox.
    • 6.
  • Marco da Gagliano

    Valli profonde al sol nemiche

    Performer: Colin Tilney. Performer: Anthony Bailes. Performer: Jordi Savall. Performer: Pere Ros. Singer: Nigel Rogers.
    • Archiv 4370752.
    • Archiv.
    • 18.
  • Marco da Gagliano

    Valli profonde al sol nemiche

    Performer: Colin Tilney. Performer: Anthony Bailes. Performer: Jordi Savall. Performer: Pere Ros. Singer: Nigel Rogers.
    • Archiv 4370752.
    • Archiv.
    • 18.
  • Francesca Caccini

    La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina

    Performer: La Villanella Basel. Singer: Heike Pichler-Trosits.
    • Ramee RAM0401.
    • Ramee.
    • 9.
  • Francesca Caccini

    La liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina

    Singer: Heike Pichler. Ensemble: La Villanella Basel.
    • Ramee RAM0401.
    • Ramee.
    • 9.
  • Francesca Caccini

    Lasciatemi Qui

    Performer: Heike Pichler-Trosits,. Ensemble: La Villanella Basel.
    • Ramee RAM0401.
    • Ramee.
    • 10.
  • Francesca Caccini

    Lasciatemi Qui

    Singer: Heike Pichler. Ensemble: La Villanella Basel.
    • Ramee RAM0401.
    • Ramee.
    • 10.
  • Luc Beauséjour

    Te lucis ante terminum

    • ANALEKTA AN29966.
    • ANALEKTA.
    • 14.
  • Francesca Caccini

    O che nuovo stupor

    Singer: Max van Egmond. Ensemble: Ricercar Consort.
    • Ricercar RIC054032.
    • Ricercar.
    • 4.

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