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  • Baroque for the Mass: Ursuline Composers of the 17th Century
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Baroque for the Mass: Ursuline Composers of the 17th Century

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Audio CD, May 23, 2000
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Product Details

  • Performer: Rob Haskins (organ continuo), Schola Cantorum of University of Arkansas
  • Conductor: Jack Groh
  • Composer: Isabella Leonarda, Maria Xaveria Peruchona
  • Audio CD (May 23, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Leonarda Productions
  • ASIN: B00000HZM9
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ad gaudia, ad jubila (soprano, violins, organ continuo) by Maria Peruchona
2. Ave suavis dilectio (soprano, violins, organ continuo) by Isabella Leonarda
3. Regina Caeli (soprano, alto, tenor, organ continuo) by Maria Peruchona
4. Solvite, Solvite (soprano, violins, organ continuo) by Maria Peruchona
5. Messa Prima, Op. 18 (choral mass with strings, organ, soloists) by Isabella Leonarda: Kyrie
6. Messa Prima, Op. 18: Gloria, part I
7. Messa Prima, Op. 18: Gloria, part II
8. Messa Prima, Op. 18: Gloria, part III
9. Messa Prima, Op. 18: Credo, part I
10. Messa Prima, Op. 18: Credo, part II
11. Messa Prima, Op. 18: Credo, part III

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704) and Maria Peruchona (ca.1652-after 1709) were but two of many northern Italian women composers who published music during the 17th century. They lived just a few miles from one another in towns situated northwest of Milan. Both composed music in the Baroque style, using liturgical texts as well as original texts drawn from the spiritual and devotional language of the time. Both belonged to religious organizations called Collegio di Sant'Orsola, foundations of a new non-monastic style of religious life that attracted large numbers of women in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Leonarda published over 200 musical works in the course of her lifetime, making her one of the most prolific women composers of her age. Peruchona published a single opus containing eighteen pieces. Both composers lived at a time of great musical activity, when more women emerged in Italy as composers than at any previous period in Western music history. Largely ignored in the centuries that followed, the music of these women is being rediscovered only in our time. Not only is the artistic merit of their work finding renewed appreciation, but so too is its ability to find a response in the human spirit.

Recording producer: Marnie Hall. "Mass" recorded by Malcolm Addey at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 1982. Motets and anthem recorded by Marnie Hall, in the Colgate Rochester Divinity School chapel, Rochester, New York, 1998. Editing, mastering and graphic design: Marnie Hall. Cover: "Nuns in Choir," Master of St. Jerome, ca. 1421, by permission of the British Library. This recording is made possible with public funds from The New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. Additional funding provided by the Arkansas Arts Council, Lily Peter and Dilly Patrick © Leonarda Productions, Inc., 1998. All rights reserved. Made in USA.


Folan sings with impeccable tone and diction with clear, bell-like tones… impeccable performances…refinement and elegance…CD highly recommended -- Barbara Harbach, Women of Note Quarterly, February 1999

The Mass’s style is close to Carissimi's liturgical works. It is marked by skill, intelligence, and imagination. -- Barker, American Record Guide, Sept./Oct. 1999

The motets of Peruchona are the treasures of the recording…imaginative continuo playing shines…[Singers] excel in an ornate setting -- Craig Zeichner, Early Music America, summer 1999

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alice Moran ( on March 21, 1999
Format: Audio CD
As a listener who loves music but has no particular musical background, I found this CD a real treat, inspiring, relaxing and enjoyable. Although I loved Leonarda's music, I found the selections by Peruchona even lovelier. The soprano, Andrea Folan, does a wonderful job in interpreting this music. I have played this CD over and over and would hope that other selections of these two early women composers will be presented. I was particularly pleased with the introductory notes of Madeline Welch which gave such a fine historical background. A wonderful job also by producers, instrumentalists, choirs and soloists. Congratulations!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 8, 1999
Format: Audio CD
All of the music on "Baroque for the Mass" deserves mention, but just to give some background here for its centerpiece -- Leonarda's 41-minute Messa Prima Op18: According to the notes, "Leonarda published 20 volumes of music during her life, of which two have been lost. The surviving volumes contain more than 200 pieces of music. One is entirely instrumental -- 11 trio sonatas and a sonata for solo violin and organ continuo. The vocal works include psalms, magnificats, responsories, litanies, four masses, and many works with non-biblical texts which are usually labeled motets... Opus 18 which includes Messa Prima, was published in 1696 by Pier-Monti in Bologna. The opus includes three masses, each followed by a motet. All the works in the volume are scored for four voices, two violins, violone or theorbo, and organ continuo. In this recording, cello has been used for the violone part."
Notes also contain interesting historical information on the Ursuline order in 17th century Italy, to which both Leonarda and Peruchona belonged, written by Ursuline nun Madeline Welch, osu. The score for Leonarda's Messa Prima was prepared by Barbara Garvey Jackson (ClarNan Editions).
I loved this CD -- Leonarda's sacred music is warm and full of real life --Peruchona folds in beautifully. Many thanks to Marnie Hall of Leonarda Productions for this lovely jewel with so many facets.
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Format: Audio CD
The newly released CD, Baroque for the Mass, is an exciting collection of sacred music by two 17th Century women composers, Leonarda and Peruchona, both members of the religious Order of St. Ursula. These typically Italian Baroque religious selections display both great musical ability and remarkable creative skill of two women whose works are only now coming to light. Consisting of a Mass, arranged for four voices, organ and string ensemble, and several motets written in concertato style for soloist and basso continuo, the selections have very interesting melodic invention and strong contrasting rhythms.
The soprano soloist, Andrea Folon, is particularly outstanding in this recording. Her singing is beautifully suited for the long florid lines of melody and the purity of her vocal quality enhances both the music and the words.
Hopefully, we will have more music to explore from these composers, especially from Isabella Leonarda who is credited with over 200 musical compositions.
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