< earlywomenmasters.net

AN ENGLISH LADYMASS was the first chant and polyphony
CD by Anonymous 4, a 4-woman choral group.
Medieval & Renaissance Women Composers (born before 1600)
Instrumental, Chant & Choral Music Recommended CD's
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For free, downloadable MIDI (& some MP3) music files, see also:
« « Early Music & Ragtime Women Composers MIDI    
    Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I : Recommended Recordings » »
CD titles link to Amazon.com & other sources (non-profit)
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Arranged Chronologically - see also Sappho's Choral Music
Women Troubadours & Marie de France - Lyrics

NOTE: Use this discography as a starting point only, many of these performing groups have other CDs available, also the women composers listed may have been included in a wide variety of other early music collections.

• Kassia (ca. 810- ca.867) & Women's Gregorian Chant

Kassia. Soir, dit-elle ("Night, She Said"), medieval chants sung by the women's choir Trio Mediaeval. Includes the famous Troparion Of Kassiani, the "song of Mary Magdalene," by the Byzantine abbess and composer Kassia. With Anonymous 4 retiring in 2004, this group is becoming more and more important to the development of women's voices in early music chant. ASIN B00012SZTK, ECM Records 461782, 2004.

Music by Kassia with chants by Hildegard, Codex Las Huelgas, and Arab-Byzantine tradition, on CD titled Women as Composers & Performers of Medieval Chant, performed by Sarband & Osnabrucker Jugendchor, Dorian - #93235 1998/2001

Gregorian Chant by Women's Choirs. CD titled: Eya Mater: Chant Gregorian, (11-12th C.), performed by the all-women's choir, Discantus, directed by Brigitte Lesne. OPUS 111, OPS 30-143, 1995.

• Anonymous Kharjas Composers

(4) Kharjas on CD titled "VOX IBERICA III: Songs for King Alfonso X of Castile & Léon (1221-1284)." SEQUENTIA Ensemble, Barbara Thornton and Benjamin Bagby, Directors. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. WDR 05472-77173-2, 1992.
    Barbara Thornton writes:

    "These miniature texts in the colloquial Romance dialect of the Mozarabs (the oldest extant texts in Spanish written using Arabic characters and not deciphered until 1948) bear witness to one of the earliest European vernacular vocal traditions: women's songs of sensuality and desire. In our reconstruction we glimpse the last remains of a courtly oral tradition dating back to 10th century Moslem Andalusia and still enjoyed by the learned king [Alphonso X] and his courtiers, during their hours of relaxation. Female minstrels are joined by instruments from Al-Andulus (rahab and lute) for this conscious "performance" of the amusingly erotic 'kharjas,' the beguiling songs of lovesick girls."
Kharjas. See "kharjas" verses at the end of three "muwashshahs" on CDs titled, Iberian Garden: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Music in Medieval Spain, Vol I (2 kharjas) & Vol 2 (1 kharjas). Performed by Altramar medieval music ensemble: Jann Cosart, viheuelas d'arco, rebecs; Angela Mariani, voice, harp, lira, percussion; Chris Smith, vihuela da mano, mozarabic lute, oud, percussion; David Stattleman, voice, percussion. With Timothy G. Johnson, shawn and Allison Zelles, voice, harp, percussion. DORIAN DISCOVERY 1995/1997/1998. DIS-80151 (Vol 1) and DIS-80158 (vol 2). See also 8 "Musica Arabigo Andaluza" on "Medieval Women's Songs" by the ensemble Calamus, with Cantigas de Martim Codax. Pneuma 050, 1995.
• Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) | Writings at Other Women's Voices

MP3 (2MB) ~ Quia felix pueritia
from CD "Carmina Sanctorum," performed by Rondellus
MP3 (1.5MB) ~ O frondens virga
performed by The Sisters, a women's a cappella vocal ensemble

Hildegard of Bingen. Luminous Spirit Chants of Hildegard of Bingen, 14 chants peformed by Rosa Lamoreaux, & Hesperus, Koch Int'l Classics - #7443, 1998.

Hildegard of bingen: 11,000 Virgins, Anonymous 4, (Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Maria Rose) Harmonia Mundi. USA 907200, 1997.

See also the last recording made by Anonymous 4 and one of their best, with fantastic music by Hildegard, called The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions of Hildegard von Bingen, Harmonia Mundi HMU807327, 2005 (samples for all tracks at amazon.com).
Hildegard of Bingen. Symphoniae, Spiritual Songs, SEQUENTIA, Barbara Thornton, Director. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/BMG, (RCA) 77020 (c) 1989, but recorded in 1982/83. clip from this recording.

Hildegard of Bingen. Feather on the Breath of God, performed by Gothic Voices with Emma Kirkby. Along with early recordings by the ensemble SEQUENTIA, the high quality of this album was responsible for the surge in popular interest in Hildegard's music beginning in the early 1990s. Still rightly a best seller. Hyperion #66039, 1993. 5 clips from this recording.

Hildegard of Bingen. Mother Heart: Songs for the Sacred Feminine, Susan Lincoln, Dromenon Records, 2004.

Hildegard of Bingen and Her Time. A fine CD to set Hildegard in relation to her contemporaries, including Peter Abelard, and others. Christophorus - #74584, 1994. 5 clips from this recording (WindowsMedia only).

Hildegard of Bingen. 16 songs on CD titled O Nobilissima Viriditas, Catherine Schroeder, voice; accompanied by Catherine Sergent, soprano, Deya Marshall, cloches; Emmanuel Bonnardot, viele; and Stephane Gallet, ney. The songs selected for this CD focus on Hildegard's vision of "Viriditas" or "greening power." Champeaux recordings, CSM 0006, 1996.

Ancient & Modern

Hildegard of Bingen & Patricia Van Ness. CD titled Sapphire Night, Songs by Hildegard, along with contemporary compositions from "The Nine Orders of the Angels" by Patricia Van Ness, composed in Hildegard's free neumatic medieval choral style, performed by the 4-woman vocal group, Tapestry. MD&G; Records 344-1193-2, 2004

• Medieval Music Dramas, Morality Plays

Hildegard of Bingen. The Soul's Journey: ORDO VIRTUTUM (Play of the Virtues). Performed by Vox Animae, directed by Michael Fields and Evelyn Tubb. Etcetera Record Co. (recorded 1995) KTC 1203. (See sound samples at Amazon.) See also complete performance on DVD (2003) with Patricia Routledge.

    "ORDO VIRTUTUM is the oldest surviving music-drama, and the greatest musical work by the visionary mystic and Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), who left a treasury of writings and music expressing the passionate intensity of her mystical experiences."
• Herrad of Landsberg (fl. 1167-1195)
Info: Other Women's Voices

Music from Herrad of Landsberg's "Garden of Delights" on CD titled, Hortus Deliciarum, with music also by Hildegard of Bingen (1089-1179), performed by the all-woman vocal ensemble, DISCANTUS, directed by Brigitte Lesne. OPUS 111, OPS 30-220, 1998, 2003. From the August 1998 Harmonia Mundi catalogue:

"The twelfth century was a period of astonishing musical innovation. It provided a rich and stimulating background to the melodic inventiveness of Hildegard von Bingen and the insatiable curiosity of Herred von Landsberg, whose encyclopedia, Hortus deliciarum (Garden of Delights), ends on a festive note with a collection of chants and hymns. Opus 111's recording also includes revealing examples of musical repertories familiar to the two abbesses."

« Title page from the HORTUS DELICIARUM

• Medieval Women Troubadours (Trobairitz) (12-13th c.)

Women Troubadours/Trobairitz: The Sweet Look and the Loving Manner, Trobairitz Love Lyrics and Chansons De Femme, performed by Sinfonye, Stevie Wishart, Director. Voice, medieval fiddle, oud, bendir, hurdy gurdy. One of the first and best CD albums to perform the love songs of the medieval women troubadours. HYPERION CDA66625.

Women Troubadours/Trobairitz: CD titled In Time of Daffodils: Songs of the Trobairitz, Songs by >Azalais de Porcairages, Castelloza, Garsenda de Forcalquier, La Contessa de Dia, and others, performed by Heliotrope, Koch, 2003

Women Troubadours/Trobairitz: CD titled Fin Amour, music by Na Castelloza, Beatriz de Dia, anonymous French, and other composers, performed by Marc Bellity, Mathias Autexie, and Delphine Aguilera. Buda Musique, 2007

Women Troubadours/Trobairitz: Music composed by Dame Castelloza (b. ca.1200), Comtessa de Dia (fl. early 13th c.) & Chansons de Femme on CD titled The Romance of the Rose: Feminine Voices from Medieval France," by Heliotrope, directed by Joyce Todd with Joyce Todd, soprano, percussion, harp; Natalie Cox, harp; Shira Kammen, vielle, rebec; Kit Robberson, vielle; Kim Swatsler, hurdy-gurdy, monochord; David Tayler, oud. Collection of chansons de femme and works by Queen Blanche, Dame Castelloza ("Per joi que d'amor m'avegna)" and two pieces by Comtessa de Dia. Koch 3-7103-2 H1, 1995.

• Queen Blanche of Castile (1188-1252)

Queen Blanche of Castile. "Amours, ou trop tart me sui pris" (soprano, psaltery, medieval fiddle) on CD titled The Medieval Lady by the ensemble, Elizabethan Conversation. Susan Sandman, Derwood Crocker, Andrea Folan, guest soprano. Leonarda Records CD #LE340. With music by Hildegard of Bingen, Countess of Dia, Anne Boleyn, Lady Killigrew, Giles Farnaby, Mary Harvey, Richard Farnaby.
From Leonarda Productions:

"Queen Blanche of Castile (1188-1252) was born in Castile, then a kingdom in what is now central and northern Spain. Upon marriage, she became Queen of France, and governed France as regent during the minorship of her son Louis IX, and then again during his absence due to the 7th crusade. Of noble birth, Blanche was in the position to benefit from an education otherwise unavailable to women, or to most men. Her nobility and its accompanying education and wealth probably helped ensure the survival of her songs through the centuries."

Love, with whom too late I am allied,
Has instructed me through its lordship,
Sweet lady of Paradise.
That I should want to sing-a-song of you:
For the joy which can endure
One should serve and love you.

Virgin Queen, sacred lily,
How much joy fills him
Who is full of love for you;
No one can say,
For the joy which can endure
One should serve and love you.

Well chosen was the vessel,
Sweet Lady, where the Holy Spirit was,
For nine full months nourished,
For it was, Lady, your heart.
For the joy which can endure
One should serve and love you.
• Marie de France (12-13th c.) (wrote fables accompanied by medieval harp).

Marie de France. Two fables set to music on CD titled THE UNICORN: Medieval French Songs, Myth and Miracle, performed by Anne Azema, voice, Cheryl Ann Fulton, harps, Shira Kammen and Jesse Lepkoff, ERATO, 4509-95830, 1994 see lyrics.

• Medieval Women Minstrels (Jougleresses)

Medieval Women Minstrels. See "The Romance of The Rose: Feminine Voices from Medieval France," HELIOTROPE, Joyce Todd, Director. Koch 3-7103-2, 1995.

    Joyce Todd writes: "[One of the sources of] songs for the present recording is the important 13th century romance by Jean Renart: The Romance of the Rose (not to be confused with the better-known Romance of the Rose written by Guillame de Lorris.)... Besides being of great interest to feminist literary scholars, the Romance is important as a document of early 13th century culture, diet and dress. It is also a unique source for medieval chansons which are skillfully woven into the fabric of the narrative. The present recording includes two chansons de toile sung in the Romance by the heroine Lienor, and a trouvere song-fragment sung by a jongleuresse [from juggler, meaning a women entertainer/musician] introduced as 'the beautiful Doette from Troyes.'"

    And Maria V. Coldwell, in WOMEN MAKING MUSIC writes: "In the medieval romances, traveling French jougleresses [women minstrels] are relatively common characters. Perhaps 5 to 10 percent of the traveling minstrels mentioned in the romances are female...The evidence of the romances is supported by actual documents from the period. Professional musicians' guilds allowed women members. The statutes of the guild of minstrels in Paris, dating from 1321, have eight women among the thirty seven signers

• Medieval Marian Echoes of the Prehistoric Goddess, by Anonymous 4 & Others

CD titled "La Bele Marie: Songs to the Virgin from 13th c. France," by Anonymous 4 (Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Jacqueline Horner, Johanna Maria Rose). "Drawn from the Latin liturgy, or adapted from vernacular art songs of the northern French trouveres, these ardent hymns echo the European prehistoric cullture of goddess worship." Harmonia Mundi, HMU907312, 2002.

An English Ladymass. 13th & 14th-century chant and polyphony in honor of the Virgin Mary, performed by Anonymous 4 (Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Rose); Harmonia Mundi USA HMU 907080, 1992.

Lammas Ladymass. 13th & 14th-century English chant and polyphony, performed by Anonymous 4 (Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Johanna Rose); Harmonia Mundi USA HMU 907222, 1998. (See sound samples at Amazon).

The Black Madonna: Pilgrim Songs from the Monastery of Montserrat (1400-1420)," Ensemble Unicorn, directed by Michael Posch (NAXOS 8.554256, 1995) Includes Queen Blanche of Castile: "Amours, ou trop tart me sui pris." See sound samples.

"Pilgrimages, miracles and relics constituted important formal elements in medieval religion. They reflected the need for direct contact with the holy. Where miracles were attested or relics found, places of worship were established. In Spain and France, above all, many significant centers of pilrgrimage are found and among the most important, after Santiago de Compostela, must be reckoned the monastery of Montserrat, some fifty kilometers to the east of Barcelona. With the miracuous Black Madonna, celebrated in various ways in the songs of the Llibre Vermell and in the Cantigas de Santa Maria and with its unique geographical position, the monastery from the earliest times drew many pilgrims. It is found at a height of 700 meters above sea-level above a gorge, surrounded by jagged rocky peaks. Clearly the place itself offered a strong fascination for people, since it was also the site of an earlier temple to Venus. It was about the year 1025 that the Abbot Oliba established there a Benedictine community, from the monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoli. In 1409 the monastery became an independent abbey."

• Survey of Women's Medieval and Renaissance Music

The Medieval Lady, by the ensemble, Elizabethan Conversation. Susan Sandman, Derwood Crocker, Andrea Folan, guest soprano. Leonarda Records (with sound samples for all tracks.) CD #LE340, with music by
Hildegard of Bingen  
Countess of Dia
Anne Boleyn
Maroie de Lille
Quenn Blanche
Lady Killigrew
Giles Farnaby
Mary Harvey
Richard Farnaby.

• Medieval Songs for Mary Magdalene, performed by Joglaresa, Jennie Cassidy, Caitriona O'Leary, Dessislava Stefanova, Belinda Sykes - voices Ben Davis - fidel, Riccardo Delfino - harps, hurdy-gurdy, AVIE AV0026, 2003.

    [Mary Magdlaene] was the ideal role model for the Church: "Let us praise the Lord, O Magdalen, bride of Jesus Christ and our patron, you, the model of repentance and mirror of the church" (Benedicamus Domino - track 14). Being originally 'peccatrix' (sinner), 'meretrix' (prostitute), she became 'dilectrix Christi' (lover of Christ) or even -- in a typical medieval metaphor -- 'sposa Jhesu Christi' (bride of Jesus Christ). And she was asked for intervention on behalf of the sinners, and even was hailed as "blessed woman" who was able to "dissolve all our sins" (Ave, beata femina - track 16).

    "...The line of approach by Belinda Sykes is very original. It is interesting to see how the official views of the Church and popular beliefs influenced each other. And more than any scientific treatise the music and the texts presented here demonstrate the importance and the mystic character of the worship of saints in the Christian Church of the Middle Ages."

• Las Huelgas Codex (Spanish convent music, compiled early 1300's.)

LAS HUELGAS CODEX. 13 works on CD titled Las Huelgas Codex, Music from 13th century Spain." Huelgas Ensemble, Paul Van Nevel, conductor. With Catherine Joussellin, Christine Gabrielle Madar, Nele Minten, Marie-Claude Vallin, and Katelijine Van Laethem, vocals; accompanied by recorders and fiddles. SONY 071565, 1993.

LAS HUELGAS CODEX: Femme Mystique, 13th Century Las Huelgas Codex. DISCANTUS (9-woman ensemble), dir. by Brigitte Lesne. OPUS 111, OPS 30-68, 1992.

According to the liner notes: "The manuscript, in addition to being an invaluable guide to the practice of monodic and polyphonic liturgical chant in the Iberian Peninsula, is an exceptional document both from the variety of its contents and its quality. One of its chief features is that it provides a wide-ranging sample of the repertoire of the period: trope... prose... organum... conduit... and motet... This recording by the DISCANTUS Ensemble provides an opportunity to remind one that women did indeed have their place in the making of music in medieval times. Sacred chant, which too often is associated exclusively with men's voices, was performed every day by women in their nunneries [such as]" at Las Huelgas...."

GRADUAL from the Las Huelgas Codex

You are blessed, you are holy, Virgin Mary,
Your virtue remained intact,
You who were revealed as the Mother of the Saviour,
He whom the whole earth could not contain
Was in your womb enclosed
When he was made man.

LAS HUELGAS CODEX: Music by Kassia with chants by Hildegard, Codex Las Huelgas, and Arab-Byzantine tradition, on CD titled Women as Composers & Performers of Medieval Chant, performed by Sarband & Osnabrucker Jugendchor, Dorian - #93235 1998/2001 (also mp3 album available).

LAS HUELGAS CODEX: on CD titled, Echoes Of Spain, Alfonso X (el Sabio) (Composer), Codex Las Huelgas Anonymous, Martin Codax performed by Sonus, Dorian Recordings, 1997.

Women's Medieval Circle-Dance Songs

3 "Olive Tree" caroles, on CD titled, Le Jeu D'Amour (The Game of Love): Anne Azema, voice; with Shira Kammen, viele, rebec, harp; Jesse Lepkoff, flute, recorder; Robert Mealy, vielle, harp; Margriet Tindemans, vielle, gittern, harp. and others. ERATO 0630-17072-2, 1997.

Anonymous French caroles combined with motets, on CD titled Trois Soeurs / Three Sisters, performed by Sinfonye, directed by Stevie Wishart, Glossa 2001.

• St. Birgitta of Sweden (ca. 1303-1373)

St. Birgitta of Sweden. 5 songs from Birgitta's "Cantus Sororum" on CD titled, Hildegard of Bingen and Birgitta von Schweden by the ensemble, Les Flamboyants (women's voices: Miriam Andersen, Kelly Landerkin, and Marilla Vargas; with Susanne Ansong, fiddle; Michael Form, recorder.) With music by Hildegard. Includes a unique and handsome CD/booklet design, liner notes in German, English and French, song texts in Latin and German. Baum Klang RK 9802, 1997.

• Christine de Pisan (Pizan) (c.1364-aft.1429) & Women's Rondeaux

Christine de Pisan. "Dueil Angoisseux," lyrics by Christine de Pisan, set by Gilles Binchois (1400-1460) on "The Castle of Fair Welcome: Courtly Songs of the Later 15th Century," Gothic Voices with Christopher Wilson, lute and Christopher Page, medieval harp and director. Margaret Philpot, contralto and Rogers Covey-Crump, Mark Ainsley and Leigh Nixon, tenors, Hyperion, UK, 1993, 2007.

    Christopher Page gives fine praise to Christine de Pisan's "Dueil Angoisseux" (Anguished Grief) with these words:

      "Most of the poems recorded here have no more meaning to them than the leafy sprays and branches painted in the margins of 15th c. manuscripts. Like those gilded flourishes, an amorous rondeau fills a space in a gracious and conventional way. Now and then, however, we encounter a poem whose ambitions go much further: "Dueil angoisseux," Christine de Pisan's lament for the death of her husband, is one of the most moving of all medieval poems."


      Anguished grief, immoderate fury,
      grievous despair, full of madness,
      endless languor and a life of misfortune,
      full of tears, anguish and torment,
      doleful heart, living in darkness,
      wraithlike body on the point of death,
      are mine continually without cease;
      and thus I can neither be cured nor die.

      Harsh disdain, bereft of joy,
      sad thoughts, deep sighs,
      great anguish locked in a weary heart,
      bitter distress endured in secret,
      mournful demeanor without gladness,
      foreboding which dries up all hope,
      and in me and never leave me;
      and thus I can neither be cured nor die.

      Worry and annoy everlasting,
      bitter waking, troubled sleep,
      labor in vain, with languid expression,
      destined to grievous torment,
      and all the ill which one could ever
      say or think, without hope of relief,
      torment me immoderately;
      and thus I can neither be cured nor die.

      Princes, pray to God that very soon,
      he may grant me death,
      if he does not wish by any other means
      to remedy the ill in which I painfully languish
      and thus I can neither be cured nor die.

    Women's Rondeaux

    "Le Souvenir" on this recording was also written by a woman. In his essay, "Women Singers and Women's Songs In 15th century Italy" (in WOMEN MAKING MUSIC by Jane Bowers & Judith Tick), Howard Mayer Brown mentions 28 rondeaux written in the late 15th and early 16th centuries by anonymous women poets (and published in an early 16th century anthology called "La Chasse et le départ d'amours.") Ten of these, including "Le Souvenir" recorded here, were set to music by Franco-Flemish composers and have survived.

Detail from a portrait of Anne Boleyn, a composer, by Hans Holbein the Younger


Anne Boleyn & Elizabeth I - More Recommended Recordings » »
• Madama Anna Inglese (15th c., fl. late 1400's, Naples)

Madama Anna Inglese. "The Cradle of the Renaissance: Italian Music from the Time of Leonardo da Vinci." SIRINU. (Sara Stowe, Matthew Spring, Jon Banks, Henry Stobart). With music by Marchetto Cara, Alexander Agricola, Joan Cornago, Francesco Bossinensis/Bartolomeo Tromboncino, Serafino de' Cimelli Dall' Aquila, Leonardo Giustiniani, Heinrich Isaac, Poliziano and anonymous. Listen to all extracts at HYPERION CDA66814, 1995.

According to Jon Banks:

"Naples had been under Spanish rule since 1442, and Spanish composers such as Cornago were held in particularly high regard there. Under Ferrante I (reigned 1448-1494) the court became steadily more international in outlook and musicians were employed from all over Europe. Particularly interesting are the continuous references to a singer called Anna Inglese (i.e. 'English Anna') showing that the 'minstrels' were not always men. Indeed, female musicians seem to have become so popular in Naples that in 1499 special lodgings were constructed for them."

• Music from the Time of Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603)

Regarding Queen Elizabeth I's musical accomplishments, the diplomat Hurault de Masse informed King Henry IV in 1598: "In her youth she danced very well and composed measures and music and had played them herself and danced them. She takes such pleasure in it that when her maids dance she follows the cadence with her hand and foot. She rebukes them if they do not dance to her liking and without a doubt she is mistress of the art, having learnt in the Italian manner to dance high." (-- from Christopher Hibbert, "The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of the Golden Age.")

Elizabeth I, Queen of England. The King's Noyse: CD titled "The Queen's Delight, Early 17th Century Elizabethan Ballads & Dances," with music by William Byrd, Henry Stoning, John Baldwine, John Marchant and anonymous. Harmonia Mundi HMU 907180, 1996.

Elizabeth I, Queen of England: English Virginals Music, Sophie Yates, virginals. With music by William Byrd, John Dowland, James Harding, Thomas Thomkins, Hugh Aston, John Bull and anonymous. Chandos CHAN 0574, 1995.

Elizabeth I, Queen of England. The Queen: Music for Elizabeth I, performed by the Toronto Consort, Marquis Music, 2009.

"This new recording features examples of a uniquely English combination of instruments called the 'mixed consort,' consisting of lute, bandora, cittern, viola da gamba, flute and violin with all the glorious music relating in some way to the remarkable monarch, Elizabeth I."

Elizabeth I, Queen of England: CD titled CYRE: Musical Tears and Meditations from the English Golden Age. Performed by Concordia: Mark Levy, Joanna Levine, Catherine Finnis, Jonathon Manson and Emilia Benjamin, viols; Gary Cooper, virginals, organ. Liner notes illustrated with prints by Käethe Kollwitz (1867-1945), with poetry by Glyn Maxwell. Metronome, MET CD 1020, 1997.

• Maddalena Casulana (ca.1540-ca.1590)

"Full Well She Sang: Women's Music from the Middle Ages and Renaissance." Highly-recommended, superb recording with music by Hildegard, Comtessa de Dia, Francesca Caccini, Barbara Strozzi, and one of the very few albums to include Maddalena Casulana (3 madrigals), the first woman composer to publish in the Renaissance. Toronto Consort. SRI005, available directly from SRI, Canada, (Tel: 705-748-5422 Fax: 705-748-5628, or e-mail SRI). See more on the painting of a Consort of Women on the CD cover.

See also: Maddelana Casulana, "Morir Non Può Il Mio Cuore," single track on English and Italian Renaissance Madrigals, The Hilliard Ensemble, David Jones, countertenor; Rogers Covey-Crump, John Potter, tenors; Gorden Jones, bass. Angel Classics - #61671, 2000.

• Gracia Baptista (pub. 1557)

Gracia Baptista. Conditor Alme Siderum. Ars Femina Ensemble . CD titled "MUSICA DE LA PUEBLA DE LOS ANGELES: Music by Women of the Mexican, Cuban, and European Baroque." Music by Teodora Gines, Maria Paterina, Gracia Baptista, Sor Juana Ines De la Cruz, Anna Ovena Hoijer, Lucrezia Vizana, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Maria Joachina Rodrigues, Maria Xavera Peruchona, and Guadalupe Ortiz. NANNERL 004, 1996. Order from Ars Femina).

    From the liner notes by Susan Reigler and Bill Bauer:

    "Baptista appears to have been a Spanish nun who lived and worked in Avila, Spain in the first half of the 16th century. There she produced this gloss (variations on a religious theme) on the chant "Conditior Alme Siderum." Scored for voice and/or an undesignated instrument -- most likely to have been organ or harpsichord -- it was preserved in a collection of music dated 1557 and belonging to Luis Venegas de Henestrosa, the organist/maestro de capilla at the Alcala."

It is interesting to note that Gracia Baptista would have been a contemporary and possibly an acquaintance of the great mystic and Carmelite abbess, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), author of the profoundly imaginative, spiritual masterpiece, "The Interior Castle" and other mystical writings. (See also downloadable MIDI for "Conditor Alme Siderum.")

• Raphaella Aleotti (c.1574-1646) (also known as Vittoria Aleotti)

Raphaella Aleotti, Le Monache di San Vito (The Nuns of San Vito), performed by Capella Artemisia, directed by Candace Smith, Tactus 570101, 2007

"In the shadows of the Estense palaces in Ferrara arose the remarkable concerto grande of the convent of San Vito, 'universally celebrated by many and diverse Musicians from Italy and abroad' (in the words of the contemporary composer Artusi). There were at least 23 musicians: 'Cornetts, Trombones, Violins, Viole bastarde, Double Harps, Lutes, Crumhorns, Flutes, Harpsichords, and voices, all at one time.' The Concert Mistress conducting this ensemble was Raphaella Aleotti, the first Italian nun to have published any music: her Sacrae cantiones for between 5 to 10 voices, published in Venice in 1593."

Vittoria (Raphaella) Aleotti, O Dulcis Amor, with music by early women composers: Vittoria (Raphaella) Aleotti, Caterina Assandra, Francesca Caccini, Isabella Leonarda, Barbara Strozzi, performed by La Villanella Basel, Heike Pichler-Trosits, Ramee Records, 2005

Vittoria (Raphaella) Aleotti, Baciai per haver vita, CD title: "Maennniskors moete, with the Gothenburg chamber choir Kammarkoeren A Cappella" Fusion records CD 117 1995.

A modern performance score for "Baciai per haver vita," along with 17 other madrigals by Aleotti are also published in 'Ghirlanda de madrigali a quatro voci,' edited and with an introduction by C. Ann Carruthers: New York: The Broude Trust, 1994. An English translation of the Italian song text reads:

I kissed in order to have life,
for where there is beauty there is life,
and found death:
but such a welcome death,
that a more coveted fate
I could not have had while living:
nor could I desire more
from so tender a mouth in a lovely face.
Kissing, my heart was ravished
and taken away.

• Concerto Della Donne (originated 1580's)

Concerto Della Donne, Madrigals associated with the 16th c. all-women Italian singing and performance group called a "Concerto della Donne," CD titled The Secret Music of Luzzasco Luzzaschi / Madrigals for the Ladies of Ferrara, performed by Musica Secreta. Amon Ra ASIN B000002051, 1996.

• Teodora Gines (fl. ca. 1600)

Teodora Gines. "Son de La Ma Teodora," performed by the Ars Femina Ensemble on CD titled, Musica de la Puebla de los Angeles: Music by Women of the Mexican, Cuban, and European Baroque." With music by Maria Paterina, Gracia Baptista, Sor Juana Ines De la Cruz, Anna Ovena Hoijer, Lucrezia Vizana, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Maria Joachina Rodrigues, Maria Xavera Peruchona, and Guadalupe Ortiz. NANNERL 004, 1996. Order from ARS FEMINA, music samples.

From the liner notes by Susan Reigler and Bill Bauer:

"Gines, of African descent, was born into slavery. Both she and her sister, Michaela, showed remarkable musical gifts, despite a lack of formal musical training. For this reason, around 1597, they were freed to enter the service of the Cathedral at Santiago de Cuba as musicians. Theodora played bandora (a plucked bass instrument) and bowed bass. Her sister was a singer. Together with a Spanish violinist and a Portugese schawm player, they formed the nucleus of the Cathedral's orchestra.

"Gines is credited with being the mother of modern Cuban folkloric music. 'Son de las Ma Teodora,' as do many of her compositions, uses the characteristic elements of plucked bass and syncopated polyrhythms with constant shifts from two to three beats in a single bar. Also note a fusion of African call-and-response with the European harmony of F major."
• Jane Pickering(e)'s Lutebook (created ca. 1615-1645)

Jane Pickering. 30 selections from Jane Pickeringe's Lutebook, performed by Jacob Heringman, lute. Avie - #1502, 2002.

Great Music from the Court of Elizabeth I, by The Elizabethan Consort, MP3 download (2003)

Jane Pickering. LA ROSSIGNOLL from Jane Pickering's Lutebook, CD titled "The Medieval Lady," performed by the ensemble, Elizabethan Conversation, Susan Sandman, Derwood Crocker, Andrea Folan, guest soprano. Leonarda LE 340.

    "Anonymous Lute Duets" are taken from Jane Pickering's Lutebook (1615-1645), which contains music copied in three different hands. It was customary at the time, when printed music was not so readily available, to write down familar tunes, own's own tunes and tunes composed by others. The anonymous lute tunes on this recording were copied by the same hand that wrote 'Jane Pickeringe owe [sic] this Booke 1616,' presumably by Jane Pickering herself." by the ensemble, Elizabethan Conversation, Susan Sandman, Derwood Crocker, Andrea Folan, guest soprano. Leonarda LE 340.

Jane Pickering. A SCOTS TUNE/THE SCOTTISH HUNTSUPE on CD titled, Lute Music from Scotland and France, Jakob Lindberg, baroque and renaissance lutes. (Also includes music from the Lady Margaret Wemyss songbook) BIS-CD201,1982/1987.

• Sulpitia Cesis (pub. 1619)

Sulpitia Cesis. CD titled "The spiritual motets of Sulpitia Cesis" (1619), performed by Cappella Artemisia, 8 voices, cornetts, trombones, bc (organ, theorbo, viola da gamba, violone), Tactus 572801.

All tracks, mp3 audio samples available from Cappella Artemisia:

    "This recording presents the complete collection of 23 motets for 2-12 voices composed by Sulpitia Cesis, a nun and lutenist in the Augustinian convent of S. Geminiano in Modena. This collection is remarkable not only for the generally high quality of the music it contains but also for the presence of specific indications in the partbooks for various instruments including cornetts and trombones, 'forbidden entities' within the convent walls. In this world premiere recording, Cappella Artemisia employs the largest ensemble of any of its recordings: 8 voices, cornetts, trombones, theorbo, viola da gamba, violone and organ√Ďan entirely female ensemble of 16 musicians."
• Francesca Caccini (1587-ca.1640 or later)

Francesca Caccini, La Liberazione di Ruggiero, (1625) Ars Femina Ensemble. English and Italian libretto included, NAN003. Caccini's opera received a five-star review in BBC MUSIC Magazine by Charles Osborne, September 1994 (available from Ladyslipper or Ars Femina, audio clips.

Francesca Caccini. The Lost Tradition Found, La Liberazione di Ruggiero (selections from the opera), and "Chi desia di saper" The Feminist Press at CUNY. CD Catalog #LE353 Leonarda (2 CDs), see Leonarda for MP3 Audio Samples.

Francesca Caccini, Aria sopra la romanesca: "Dov 'io credea," on CD titled Canzoni da Sonar: Early Italian Violin Music on Vocal Models, Ingrid Mattews, baroque violin; Byron Schenkman, harpsichord. CENTAUR RECORDS CRC 2529, 2001.

• Lucretia Orsina Vizzana (1590-1662)

Lucretia Orsina Vizzana. O invictissima (1623), Ave Stella (1623), Protector noster (1623), on Canti nel chiostro: musiche nei monasteri femminili del '600 a Bologna (Songs from the cloisters: music from Bolognese convents of the 17th century, by Cappella Artemisia with Candace Smith, Director. TACTUS (TC 600001) 1994.

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