Isabella Leonarda (6 September 1620 ? 25 February 1704) was an Italian composer from Novara. At the age of sixteen Isabella entered the Collegio di S Orsola, an Ursuline convent, where she taught music. She acceded to the position of mother superior in 1686, and by 1696 she was madre vicaria.
Leonarda wrote over 200 works. The publication of her first distributed works were contained in Gasparo Casati's collection, who was then the master of the chapel of Novara. Her predominant genre was the solo motet which was well suited for her succinct and tender style. She published over two hundred works in her own twenty collections. It is probable that Isabella wrote many of her own texts which were illustrated by the music with expressive phrases and substantive harmonies. Besides motets she also composed masses, psalm settings and sonatas occasionally using violins in the masses and motets to support the voices. Her works make use of a rich and extended harmonic vocabulary, and she occasionally uses coloratura in ecstatic alleluia sections. A recording of an Isabella Leonarda Sonata for Violin & Continuo (1693) can be heard on the Brightcecilia Classical Music Forums (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)
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