Isabella Leonarda: Sonata duodecima a violin solo
Boel Gidholm, violin
Deborah Fox, theorbo
Naomi Gregory, Italian Baroque organ
Sponsored by Publick Musick, this concert recording was part of the Third Thursday Concert's with Eastman's Italian Baroque Organ at the Memorial Art Gallery. The performance was on January 19th, 2017 as part of a larger program titled "O Anima Mea."
Anna Isabella Leonarda was born in 1620 into a Novarese family of minor nobility. She was just 16 when she entered the Ursuline order where she remained for the rest of her long life. Leonarda published 20 volumes of music, her last volume published in 1700 when she was 80 years old.
Leonarda had an unprecedented collection of instrumental chamber music, where we actually find the first solo violin sonata ever written and published by a woman. In general, the church at this time did not look kindly upon any musical performance at convents, and instruments aside from organs were even at times outright forbidden. This makes having a collection of instrumental music written and published by a 17th-century nun nothing less than sensational. (Information from original program notes by Boel Gidholm)