Secret No More:
Renaissance & Baroque Music by Nuns, Courtesans, & Queens
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8PM at St. Louis King of France Catholic Church, 7601 Burnet Road
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Sunday, April 21, 2013, 3PM at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive
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General Admission: $25; $20 seniors 60+; $15 students (advance sales)
$5 students with valid ID (at the door only)
Tickets available online or by cash, check, or credit card at the door
Call (512) 377-6961 for more information or to reserve seats.
Today’s female singer-songwriters, classical performers, and composers owe a debt to the 16th- and 17th- century trailblazers featured in this concert. For many centuries, it was generally considered unsuitable behavior for women to be involved in composition, acting, or musical performance. However, advances in Renaissance philosophy in a few progressive areas paved the way for committed female composers, though they still usually worked secretly in convents and courts. Even so, there is a sizable amount of wonderful music, sacred and secular, composed by the women of this era.
Some of the composers who were nuns (Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Sulpitia Cesis, Caterina Assandra, and Maria Xaveria Peruchona) composed only within the insular confines of their convents. Their works didnâ€™t become part of the general performing repertoire and their compositions were not known or recognized as the gems they are until they were “discovered” by modern day musicologists who have tried to pull them from behind the veils of anonymity. On the other hand, Isabella Leonarda, who was Mother Superior of her convent, was able to publish volumes of her compositions while she still lived, indicating that she had at least some access to the outside world. TEMP’s concert will open and close with works by Leonarda; we will open with the effervescent and lyrical “Ave Regina caelorum” for four voices. “Beatus vir” for four voices and chamber orchestra will be the finale.
Barbara Strozzi, one of the most popular Baroque composers of the modern age, was from a family of literati who encouraged her to receive musical training, mostly from Monteverdi’s protégée Francesco Cavalli. Her music exhibits influences of both of these masters, yet takes emotional expression to even more complex heights with her harmonic and melodic expertise. She usually accompanied herself on the theorbo, making her one of the earliest female singer-songwriters. TEMP will perform three of her uniquely beautiful mini-dramas, performed by soloists Gitanjali Mathur, Meredith Ruduski, and Cayla Cardiff.
Her French counterpart, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, was also from a family of artists and musicians. Born to the generation after Strozzi, she lived and worked in the heady realm of the masters Charpentier and Lully and, like Strozzi, composed primarily for the secular world. TEMP will perform instrumental dances and vocal ensembles from her opera Céphale et Procris and will feature soprano Jenifer Thyssen as the heroine Procris.
Other featured soloists are Rebecca Muñiz, Stephanie Prewitt, and Seattle-based mezzo Erin Calata, who will be making her first appearance with TEMP. The period instrument chamber orchestra will be led by violinist Anna Griffis (Boston) and will include violins, viola, cellos, viols, lutes, harp, and organ.
Mystical, passionate, reverent, spirited, inspired, and first-rate—such is the music by the women composers featured on TEMP’s final concert of the season!
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