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 Barbara Strozzi

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Barbara Strozzi Famous memorial

Birth
Venice, Città Metropolitana di Venezia, Veneto, Italy
Death
11 Nov 1677 (aged 58)
Padua, Provincia di Padova, Veneto, Italy
Burial
Padua, Provincia di Padova, Veneto, Italy
Memorial ID
9923873 View Source

Italian Musician. Considered the greatest woman composer of the Baroque period. Born in Venice, she was the illegitimate daughter of a servant woman in the house of Giulio Strozzi, a respected man of letters. Strozzi adopted Barbara, made her his sole heir, and saw to it that she received a good education, something denied most women of the time. It was even arranged for her to study music with Francesco Cavalli, Italy's foremost opera composer after Monteverdi. The Strozzi home was a great gathering place for artists and intellectuals and by the age of 16 Barbara was the star attraction there. She was a virtuosa soprano and played several instruments with skill. A 1635 painting of her also shows that she was not averse to exhibiting her other natural attributes. This image---and the fact that she later had four illegitimate children with different men---gave rise to the assumption that she was a courtesan, though there is no real evidence of this. Given her background and the stimulating atmosphere at home she was destined to be a free spirit. This sense of independence emboldened Strozzi to take her talent to the next level: in 1644 she published her Opus 1, a collection of vocal pieces under the title, "Il primo de' madrigali". Few of her male contemporaries in music made use of the printing press; for a woman to do so seemed almost heretical. That Strozzi was aware of this can be seen in her introduction to that book, "the first work that I, as a woman, all too daringly bring into the light of day". After her father's death in 1652 Strozzi published over 100 compositions in seven more volumes; all but one (her Opus 4) survive. She wrote exclusively for solo voice and continuo---madrigals, arias, motets; her most ambitious piece was her only liturgical setting, the "Salve Regina" (1654). But Strozzi's great innovation was her development of the cantata, a vocal work of modest dimensions written in a semi-operatic manner. Her style, too, looked to the future, rejecting the last remnants of Renaissance polyphony in favor of Baroque monody. The scores themselves offer a glimpse into her composing methods. They are crammed with dynamic markings and detailed instructions for phrasing, and prove that Strozzi was no mere dilettante but a thorough professional who knew what effects she wanted and how to get them. Publishing music in the 1600's was a very expensive process paid for by wealthy patrons or the composers themselves, and it appears that Strozzi used most of her inheritance getting her work into print. Beyond the appearance of her final collection, "Arias" (1664), nothing more is known about her until November 1677, when it was recorded that she died poor in Padua after a three-month illness. Neglected for centuries, the music of this fascinating artist is now enjoying a considerable revival.

Italian Musician. Considered the greatest woman composer of the Baroque period. Born in Venice, she was the illegitimate daughter of a servant woman in the house of Giulio Strozzi, a respected man of letters. Strozzi adopted Barbara, made her his sole heir, and saw to it that she received a good education, something denied most women of the time. It was even arranged for her to study music with Francesco Cavalli, Italy's foremost opera composer after Monteverdi. The Strozzi home was a great gathering place for artists and intellectuals and by the age of 16 Barbara was the star attraction there. She was a virtuosa soprano and played several instruments with skill. A 1635 painting of her also shows that she was not averse to exhibiting her other natural attributes. This image---and the fact that she later had four illegitimate children with different men---gave rise to the assumption that she was a courtesan, though there is no real evidence of this. Given her background and the stimulating atmosphere at home she was destined to be a free spirit. This sense of independence emboldened Strozzi to take her talent to the next level: in 1644 she published her Opus 1, a collection of vocal pieces under the title, "Il primo de' madrigali". Few of her male contemporaries in music made use of the printing press; for a woman to do so seemed almost heretical. That Strozzi was aware of this can be seen in her introduction to that book, "the first work that I, as a woman, all too daringly bring into the light of day". After her father's death in 1652 Strozzi published over 100 compositions in seven more volumes; all but one (her Opus 4) survive. She wrote exclusively for solo voice and continuo---madrigals, arias, motets; her most ambitious piece was her only liturgical setting, the "Salve Regina" (1654). But Strozzi's great innovation was her development of the cantata, a vocal work of modest dimensions written in a semi-operatic manner. Her style, too, looked to the future, rejecting the last remnants of Renaissance polyphony in favor of Baroque monody. The scores themselves offer a glimpse into her composing methods. They are crammed with dynamic markings and detailed instructions for phrasing, and prove that Strozzi was no mere dilettante but a thorough professional who knew what effects she wanted and how to get them. Publishing music in the 1600's was a very expensive process paid for by wealthy patrons or the composers themselves, and it appears that Strozzi used most of her inheritance getting her work into print. Beyond the appearance of her final collection, "Arias" (1664), nothing more is known about her until November 1677, when it was recorded that she died poor in Padua after a three-month illness. Neglected for centuries, the music of this fascinating artist is now enjoying a considerable revival.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 19 Nov 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 9923873
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9923873/barbara-strozzi: accessed ), memorial page for Barbara Strozzi (6 Aug 1619–11 Nov 1677), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9923873, citing Basilica of Saint Anthony, Padua, Provincia di Padova, Veneto, Italy; Maintained by Find a Grave .