Getting to know seventeenth-century composer Barbara Strozzi and her world

Posted on: December 23, 2019

“Like many celebrated musicians, Barbara Strozzi has a Facebook page with thousands of followers,” writes Bonnie Gordon in Friday’s (12/20) New York Times. “Though in this, her 400th birthday year, she’s hardly a household name like Beethoven or Mozart…. Named ‘la virtuosissima cantatrice’—the most dazzling singer—by a contemporary, Strozzi published eight volumes of music between 1644 and 1677, more than any composer of any gender in 17th-century Venice…. If your musical tastes lean toward Monteverdi, Bach, Handel, vocal jazz, singer-songwriters, or the blues, you’ll probably like Barbara Strozzi…. The texts Strozzi chose to set mostly explore desire and passion…. ‘L’amante segreto,’ from her 1651 collection, is a tiny drama about someone who would rather die than have his secret love revealed…. Strozzi shared a world with some outspoken feminists who made themselves heard. In 1612, Artemisia Gentileschi reported the teacher who raped her. He was exiled, and she went on to become a famous painter.… In classical music, it can sometimes feel hard to fully feel the relevance of a composer who has been dead for centuries. But when it comes to Barbara Strozzi and her anniversary year, there are some striking reverberations in the present.”