Currently Writing To: Che Si Puo Fare – Barbara Strozzi

I grew up listening to Classical music. Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and Mozart and all of the famous names would serenade me to and from my bed.

And I still love it. Still I can spend hours sitting and listening. I have been to more Classical concerts than any other kind. And I do not regret it at all.

Great names, great composers. Male composers. All incredible.

But what about the women? Did they not create amazing music? I have heard of some modern composers, but none in the time of Beethoven or Tchaikovsky or Mozart.

They did compose, and still they do. But their names are hidden amongst the pages and pages of music, lost in the grand history of the Classical genre. Perhaps they appear every once in a while, small print on large papers, folded and buried after quick, ignorant glances.

It is something I never remember questioning. Perhaps I was so accustomed that I never bothered. Or perhaps I asked, and no one could answer, and eventually the question fell from memory.

So this time I present the beginning of my foray into the female composers of Classical Music.

Her melodies are beautifully melancholic, resonant, almost playful in contrast.

Absolutely gorgeous.

If you happen to know any other amazing female composers, please drop the names in the comments. I would love to hear more amazing music.

34 thoughts on “Currently Writing To: Che Si Puo Fare – Barbara Strozzi

  1. That’s extraordinary, Christine. I know this composer, or rather, I know of her. I think she also goes under another surname. Not sure. I am learning the viol da gamba, which she composed for in those pre-violin days.


    • I’ll have to research and see if I can find out more about her!

      Viol da gamba looks awesome! The oldest I’ve heard is the baroque-style violin that my violin teacher played. I’m not too knowledgeable in that area though.


      • Gambas are awesome. They come in different sizes – from violin up to cello size.I love the sound – it’s much softer than the modern string which might be why it went out of fashion. Check out Jordi Savall on Youtube if you’re interested. He’s the most well known gamba player.


  2. Absolutely stunning. I can see that I will become addicted to Barbara Strozzi ! Two other names I suggest are Hildegard von Bingen, and Fanny Mendelssohn (Felix’s sister).


  3. There is absolutely no way of knowing this, but I would not be surprised to find out that women are behind many great pieces. Less than second class citizens but more than chattel. I bet promising work ripped off routinely.


  4. It seems women composers and women scientists suffer from the same obscurity. There are many women scientists who have been instrumental forces in important scientific discoveries and theories and yet received little to no recognition. Thank you for trying to bring light to the contributions women have made to classical music!



    • It’s not only unfair that they don’t receive proper recognition, it’s also sad that their beautiful music (or creations re: scientists) are not appreciated! I will definitely post some new music that I find =].


  5. Unfortunately very few woman composers are known, beside Hildegard von Bingen, and Fanny Mendleson, there was also Clara Schumann, wife of Robert, and one of the great pianists of her time. Boulanger is very interesting as she became the composition teacher of the twentieth century, training composers like Pierre Boulez, and many others. Amy Beach the American composer was a contemporary, and composed some wonderful works. As one gets into the twentieth century so there are more women, some of my favorites are Meredith Monk, Roxanna Panufnik, and Jocelyn Pook I hope you like some of these, they are interesting, but take quite a lot of listening.
    I liked Barbara Strozzi a lot thanks for introducing her to me, Emma Kirby sings very similarly and has made many great recordings, you could also try The anonymous 4, the Sixteen might all be to your liking.


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