Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704): Motets and psalms for soprano, vocal quartet and historical harps
Roberta Invernizzi, soprano
Èlia Casanova, soprano
Hugo Bolívar, alto
Albert Riera, tenor
Pablo Acosta, bass
Manuel Vilas, harp and artistic direction
Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704) is one of the few female composers of the Italian Seicento from whom a great production, in terms of both quantity and quality, has reached us. Born into a noble and prestigious family – where she was able to receive a solid humanist education, which also included music – she spent a large portion of her life within the walls of a convent, where she arrived at the age of sixteen, although sufficiently free from other obligations to focus almost entirely on writing music.
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DOWNLOAD THE LYRICS HEREHer work is predominantly religious – mainly devoted to the Virgin Mary – a reflection of, and metaphor for, the example of the divine order in the human order. She produced a large body of work comprising twenty volumes of music entirely devoted to religious genres, ranging from instrumental music – the sonatas da chiesa with one, two, three and four instruments in her Opus 16 which may well be her best-known work – to vocal music. Her style is always serious and thoughtful, severe. Leonarda died at the age of 84; a very respectable age for the time.