Review: "Candace Magner on the Life and Legacy of Barbara Strozzi (1619–1677)"
Candace Magner on the Life and Legacy of Barbara Strozzi (1619–1677). Candace Magner, scholar, Paul M. Patinka, interviewer, with performances by students of the University of Texas at San Antonio (USTA), at USTA and St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic Church, San Antonio, TX, March 19, 2019.
“Candace Magner on the Life and Legacy of Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)” is an interview with Strozzi scholar Dr. Candace Magner that was conducted by Paul Patinka during Magner’s visit to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in March 2019. Magner serves as the general editor of the published critical editions of Strozzi’s complete works through Cor Donato Editions. The presentation, available as a 58-minute video, intersperses performances of Strozzi songs amid Magner and Patinka’s discussion.
In the interview, Magner describes her early interest in Strozzi, which led her to begin cataloguing the difficult-to-locate existing editions of Strozzi compositions. Magner explains the lack of financial backing Strozzi received for her composing, with no permanent patrons through the court or the church and no wealthy family members supporting her work. Despite this lack of regular monetary support, Strozzi’s works were still published in books—not only in manuscripts—during her lifetime. Magner believes this is an indication of how well-known and highly regarded Strozzi’s compositions were among her contemporaries.
As the interview proceeds, Magner provides historical context for Strozzi’s life, highlights her notability as a Baroque-era composer (and, therefore, her continued significance among modern musicians), and explores her added relevance as a female composer.
Speaking without notes or slides, Magner demonstrates her vast expertise on the subject. Patinka asks pertinent questions and allows Magner to craft her lengthy responses without interruption.
Patinka divides the presentation into sections by placing performances of five Strozzi songs at different points throughout the video. The songs are performed by UTSA students at a separate concert of Strozzi music that occurred in conjunction with Magner’s visit to campus. Each musician capably executes the selected repertoire, including frequent, challenging florid passages. Patinka explains in the video’s introduction that the performances were included in order to demonstrate to modern musicians the relevance and accessibility of Strozzi’s works. The performances certainly accomplish this goal and undoubtedly enhance the presentation.
The nearly hour-long video breaks down into approximately 40 minutes of Magner’s interview, 17 minutes of music, and a 90-second introduction. The information provided is accessible to historical scholars and professional performers as well as to a student audience, while the back-and-forth format of interview and performances keeps the presentation segments digestible.
Those seeking further information can explore www.barbarastrozzi.com, which Magner created and maintains, and can obtain Magner’s critical editions of Strozzi’s complete works at www.cordonatoeditions.com.
Brian Manternach, DM, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Theatre and is a Research Associate at the National Center for Voice and Speech. He serves as Utah District Governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing and Western Governor for the Pan American Vocology Association. His students have been cast in national and international Broadway tours, in professional productions across the USA and abroad, and have earned top honors in numerous vocal competitions.