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Tell me, thou soul of her I love

This is a programme about love, the different forms of love and different feelings that falling in love, being in love and loving someone brings. The despair, the agony, the wonderful uplifting feeling, the hopefulness and hopelessness, the devotion, the passion and the tenderness of love. These works show a few examples of how love has been used as a theme and as a source of inspiration from late 16th century to half way of the 18th century, by composers who are women.


Women have been creating and making music most probably as long as men. It is suspected that the Greek poet Sappho (c. 630/612–570 B. C.) even created one of the modes, mixolydian mode, a type of scale system. However, women have always been very much overlooked in the western music history. Italian Maddalena Casulana who was the first woman to publish her own music and it seems was also respected by many of her male colleagues pointed out already in the dedication text of her first book of madrigals in the 16th century the unfairness of the society. That it was generally assumed that only men could be intellectual and artistic. Most women whose compositions have been preserved until today were either nuns living and working in the monasteries or daughters from musical families who often ended up working in a court. If one wasn't royalty or born into a musical family, a monastery was the only place where an average woman could get some musical education. Whereas the musical training for men was very thorough, following a path starting in a traditional choir school and usually later studying as an apprentice with a renowned musician. Perhaps the biggest obstacle preventing more women from making and especially publishing music was the fact that women were, by the rules of society, supposed to stay out of public life.


The women presented in this programme can be considered pioneers in many ways. Barbara Strozzi was the only woman who, with the help and encouragement of her father Giulio Strozzi, could enter the intellectual elite circles of early 17th century Venice. She performed her own compositions, accompanying herself with the lute and her style and way of composing makes her one of the key figures of mid 17th century cantata style. Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre and Mlle Duval were the first women whose music was heard in the Royal Opera in Paris. At the age of 18 Mlle Duval conducted her ballet-opera Les Génies, which was a great success. Some years earlier Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre had published and presented her opera Cephale e Procris in the same venue. Elizabeth Turner was one of the first women whose music was published in England, which happened more than 150 years after Maddalena Casulana's first madrigals were published in Italy. It is suspected that like most composers of that time, Elizabeth Turner, a talented singer and harpsichordist, also must have created music and improvised during her performances but only a few of her compositions were written down and published, among them A Collection of Songs with symphonies and thorough bass


Barbara Strozzi (b. 1619, year of death unknown)


(Op 3, Cantate, Ariete a una, due e tre voci)


Barbara Strozzi

Hor che Apollo

(Arie, Op 8 )

Elizabeth Turner (d.o.b. unkown, d. 1756)

Tell me, thou soul of her I love

(A collection of Songs with symphonies and through bass, 1756)


Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (c.1664-1729)

Triosonata in D major

Grave - Vivace e Presto - Adagio - Allegro - Adagio - Allegro - Aria affettuoso - Becarre allegro (1695)


Mlle Duval (1718-year of death unknown)

Venés, Venés Juste dépit

(Les Génies ou Les Caractères de l'amour, 1736)


- Intermission -


Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre

Triosonata in C minor

Grave - Vivace - Largo - Vivace - Adagio - Aria Affettuoso - Becarre allegro - Bemol adagio (1695)


Elizabeth Turner

Come Lyrist tune thy harp and play

(A collection of Songs with symphonies and thorough bass, 1756)

Maddalena Casulana (c.1544 - c.1590)

Stavasi il mio bel sol


Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre


Tendres Amants


La Douce folie

(Cephale e Procris, Versailles, 1629)



Kirsti Apajalahti, violin

Anna Jane Lester, violin

Anastasia Terranova, soprano

Jacopo Ristori, cello

Tim Veldman, harpsichord

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