Friday, 28 May, 2021 at 7:30 pm
Beverley Early Music Festival
Beverley Minster, Beverley, United Kingdom
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Zachary Woolfe, New York Times (10 Feb, 2020)
Earlier milestones in women venturing into the public sphere were on offer Sunday afternoon, when the superb, shining British vocal ensemble Stile Antico performed “Breaking the Habit: Music by and for Renaissance Women” at Corpus Christi Church in Manhattan.
Presented by the invaluable series Music Before 1800, the program included rare examples of early women composers, including works by Sulpitia Cesis, Maddalena Casulana, Leonora d’Este and Raffaella Aleotti, a master of slow-bleeding harmonies who was responsible for what is called, in a program note, “the earliest publication by a nun — and the first pieces of sacred music credited publicly to a woman.”
These works were joined by others composed (by men) for three queens: Margaret of Austria and Mary I and Elizabeth I of Britain. Yet most tantalizing was an elegantly mournful song in French and Latin, its text and music possibly written by Queen Margaret herself.
This was, however many centuries late, a concert in which men and women were placed on equal terms.