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From the Magnificat Archives: Isabella Leonarda Sonata for Violin & Continuo (Audio)

Rob DigginsIsabella Leonarda
Sonata duodecima (1693)

Magnificat
Rob Diggins, violin
Warren Stewart, violoncello
David Tayler, theorbo
Hanneke van Proosdij, organ

live, unedited performance
February 2, 2003
St. Gregory Nyssen Church
San Francisco CA

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In 1724, the eminent theorist and collector music Sébastian de Brossard wrote in praise of the works of Isabella Leonarda that “all of the works of this illustrious and incomparable composer are so beautiful, so gracious, so brilliant and at the same time so knowledgeable and so wise, that my great regret is in not having them all.”

Isabella’s instrumental works, which appeared in 1693, are apparently the earliest published sonatas by a woman.  The collection consists of eleven trio sonatas and one sonata for solo violin and continuo.  One of her most harmonically adventurous works, the Sonata duodecima is in seven parts, including two recitative like sections.

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  1. August 28th, 2009 at 18:14 | #1

    Wonderful violin playing! Spirited, lyrical, moving. Thank you for sharing this with me, and for thinking of me as well. Truly beautiful. blessings, Gayna

  2. Mariam Pal
    August 28th, 2009 at 20:54 | #2

    Thank you!

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