Sonata Duodecima Op.16

Composer: Isabella Leonarda (b. 1620 - d. 1704)
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Composer: Isabella Leonarda (b. 1620 - d. 1704)

Performance date: 04/07/2016

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1693

Duration: 00:08:15

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Instrumentation Other: vn, lute

Artists: Peter Spissky - [violin]
Fredrik Bock - [lute]

Sonata duodecima – as was common practice in Northern Italy during the first half of the 17th century, sonatas were published in groups of six or twelve. The last Sonata of these collections very often deviated from the rest in terms of both structure and content. Leonarda does a wonderful job of singling out the twelfth sonata of her Op.16. The marvellous and mysterious opening of Sonata Duodecima for solo violin exemplifies her ability to play around with daring and unexpected harmonies. The Sonata comprises of free rhapsodic passages juxtaposed against more structured sections similar to those in her trio sonatas. More than anywhere else in her instrumental works, Sonata Duodecima leaves room for improvisation on the part of the soloist. In that respect it bears some resemblance to many of her vocal compositions. The quality of this Sonata leaves little doubt as to why Leonarda became known as the Muse of Novara. To quote the French scholar and composer Sébastien de Brossard, who had several of her publications in his library: All the works of the illustrious and incomparable Isabella Leonarda are so fine, so graceful, so brilliant and at the same time so learned and wise, that my great regret is not to have them all.