At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Barbara Strozzi – composer

One of few 17th century women to have her own music published


Bernardo Strozzi's painting The Viola da Gamba Player, is said to be Barbara Strozzi
Bernardo Strozzi's painting The Viola da
Gamba Player, is said to be Barbara Strozzi
The talented singer and composer Barbara Strozzi was baptised on this day in 1619 in the Cannaregio district of Venice.

Strozzi had been recognised by the poet and librettist Giulio Strozzi as his adopted daughter. It was thought at the time she was likely to have been an illegitimate daughter he had fathered with his servant, Isabella Garzoni.

Giulio Strozzi encouraged his adopted daughter’s musical talent, even creating an academy where she could perform to an audience. She became one of only a few women in the 17th century to publish her own compositions.

The Academy of the UnknownAccademia degli Incogniti - was a circle of intellectuals in Venice that met to discuss literature, ethics, aesthetics, religion and the arts. They were supporters of Venetian opera in the late 1630s and 1640s. Giulio Strozzi formed a musical sub-group, Academy of the Like-Minded, Accademia degli Unisoni, where Barbara Strozzi performed as a singer and even suggested topics for discussion.

In addition to her vocal talent she showed herself to be a gifted composer and so her father arranged for her to study with the composer, Francesco Cavalli.

When she was older it was rumoured she was a courtesan, although this could have been made up by male contemporaries who were jealous of her talent.

Tiberio Tinelli's portrait of Giulio Strozzi, which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
Tiberio Tinelli's portrait of Giulio Strozzi,
which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
A portrait of her by Bernardo Strozzi, who was no relation to her, has been interpreted as highlighting her activities both as a musician and as a courtesan.

It is believed three of her four children were fathered by the same man, Giovanni Paolo Vidman, who was a patron of the arts and a supporter of early opera.

Barbara Strozzi launched her career as a composer in 1644 with the publication of a volume of madrigals. Over the next 20 years she published eight collections of music.

Strozzi was said to be the most prolific composer of printed, secular, vocal music in the middle of the 17th century, even compared with male composers as well as female. She is also known to have composed just one volume of sacred songs.

Barbara Strozzi was appreciated for her poetic lyrics as well as for her ability to compose music.

Nearly three quarters of her music was written for the soprano voice and although she may have written many of her own lyrics, some are by her father, Giulio.

Barbara Strozzi died in Padua in 1677 at the age of 58 and she is believed to have been buried at the Church of the Eremitani in the city.

The Church of Santa Sofia seen from Strada Nova in Venice
The Church of Santa Sofia seen from Strada Nova in Venice
Travel tip:

Barbara Strozzi was baptised soon after her birth in the Church of Santa Sofia in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The church is in Strada Nova, which runs parallel with the Grand Canal. It is believed to date back as far as 886 but was rebuilt in the 16th and 17th centuries. The church was closed in 1810 while Venice was under Napoleonic rule but was later purchased by a Venetian and was re-consecrated and reopened as a church in 1836.

The Church of the Eremitani in Padua
The Church of the Eremitani in Padua
Travel tip:

Barbara Strozzi is believed to have been buried in the Church of the Eremitani in Padua, an Augustinian Church that dates back to the 13th century in Piazza Eremitani, close to the centre of Padua. It became one of the most important churches in Padua and was decorated by the greatest masters working in the city over the years. But during the Second World War, the church and its beautiful frescoes suffered a lot of damage from bombing raids.





No comments:

Post a Comment