Helen Hancock (soprano), Yonit Kosovske (harpsichord) and Maura Ó Cróinín (recorder)

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Travel with Galway Early Music back to 17th-century Italy and let the music of Barbara Strozzi, Girolama Frescobaldi and Biagio Marini bring some sun and warmth into your home.

Way ahead of her time, Strozzi was a pioneering woman of 17th century Venice: not only was she an outstanding soprano, she was one of the first women to publish compositions in her own name, while combining those roles with being a parent (and an unmarried one, by choice). As Helen points out “A female composer may not seem radical now, but women usually published under pseudonyms back then, as it was not considered possible for a women’s gifts to extend to composing. And bear in mind we still say “female composer” today. We no longer say “female doctor” or “female playwright”. Seeing female composers programmed in concerts needs to become the norm.” Helen looks forward to performing two wonderful cantatas, L’Amanto Segreto and Che si può fare, both of which speak of the torment of love.

A slightly older contemporary of Strozzi was the keyboardist Girolamo Frescobaldi, a child prodigy, whose published work influenced Johann Sebastian Bach, Henry Purcell and many other major composers. Yonit Kosovske will play a solo piece for harpsichord by Frescobaldi.

The recorder is also featured in the concert, with pieces by Frescobaldi and Biagio Marini, another composer famous throughout Europe. A much-maligned instrument, the recorder is not just an easy way to learn to play a tune, it is a beautiful wind instrument of the renaissance and baroque era.

(Concert pre-recorded in St Munchin’s Church, Limerick by Vlad Smishkewych (Now & Then Media) for youtube premiere.)