Who published the most music of any European composer in the Baroque era? Bach, Corelli, Handel? Monteverdi, Pachelbel, Vivaldi? Nope, nope, nope….and nope.
It wasn’t even a man. It was Barbara Strozzi, Venetian composer who lived from 1619 to 1677. I just ran a search of about ten websites describing Baroque music and composers, and Barbara’s name was not listed on any of them.
History has overlooked Barbara for too long. She ran both a literary and a musical salon, corresponded with royalty in numerous countries, was taught by Francesco Cavalli, and left a legacy of beautiful music that often represents a female voice rarely heard.
I visited sites related to Barbara’s life in Venice, in the company of researcher and professor Candace Magner. In this video, you can hear a bit more about Barbara’s life, plus I have a full chapter on her in my book A Beautiful Woman in Venice.
Or click on this link to see the video from your phone: Barbara Strozzi
Barbara was unfairly accused of being a courtesan. This portrait shows markers usually used to symbolize sex workers, such as the flower in her hair, the exposed breast, and the duet with an invitation to play.
If you are unfamiliar with Barbara’s music, here are links to a couple songs. I hope you’ll explore her music further and spread the word about this talented composer.
And please visit Candace Magner’s site to access Barbara’s music scores and libretti.