Photo: Felix Patzelt, Cover: Dagmar Puzberg
Photo: Felix Patzelt, Cover: Dagmar Puzberg

During her 68 years at the Collegio di Sant'Orsola, Isabella Leonarda composed more than two hundred published works in twenty published collections. She is considered one of the most productive female composers of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Her approximately 100 solo motets combine technical virtuosity with a highly personal expression of religious fervor. The texts are frequently non-liturgical, rich in imagery and assumed to be written by Leonarda herself. They offer a fascinating insight into both Leonarda’s own deep and personified beliefs and the larger theological context of a 17th-century nunnery.

In spite of their musical quality, most of Leonarda’s works have not be re-performed in modern times, and only a handful have been recorded or published in modern editions. Contralto Julie Comparini and an ensemble of early music specialists present solo motets and violin sonatas by this virtuoso Baroque composer.

Julie Comparini, contralto
Wiebke Corßen and Julia Krikkay, violin
Jenny Westman, viola da gamba
Susanne Peuker, theorbo
Tobias Gravenhorst, harpsichord
Klaus Westermann, organ

Arcantus, arc 23048, € 18
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To order a CD directly from Julie Comparini, please send an e-mail to julie (at) juliecomparini (dot) com with your billing and shipping address and the desired number of CDs. You will receive an invoice that can be paid via PayPal or SEPA bank transfer and your CDs will be sent in the mail. The CDs cost 18 Euro per CD plus postage (postage-free for orders shipped within Germany).

Digital download coming soon
Interview with Benno Schirrmeister about this project (in German)

Watershed presents a new song cycle (2020) composed by Ailís Ní Ríain on poems by Jessica Brown from her book And Say (Revival Press, 2019). The song cycle is performed by contralto Julie Comparini and pianist Yonit Kosovske, who commissioned the work with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland Music Commissions Award. The album also features poetry readings interwoven with nature soundscapes along and near Lough Derg in counties Clare and Tipperary.

Julie Comparini, voice
Yonit Kosovske, piano
Ailis ni Riain, composition
Jessica Brown, texts and readings

Now and Then Media, NATM 21.01
€18 including shipping / €13,50 as digital download
Available as CD or download from Bandcamp.

Simon Mayr's highly operatic oratorio tells the story of the biblical patriarch Jacob and his wives Leah and Rachel, who are forced to flee from Jacob's father-in-law, Laban. Leah, the peacemaker, tries to stay optimistic while Rachel's loyalties waver between her husband and her father. Jacob, caught in a tactically and emotionally unwinnable situation, must prepare himself for the approaching conflict with his persecutor.

Jacob a Labano fugiens was Mayr's first oratorio. It was composed for the musicians of the Ospedale di Mendicanti in Venice and first performed there in 1791. Franz Hauk is Mayr's leading interpreter and "discoverer" and has performed many of his works for the first time in modern years.

Julie Comparini, Jacob
Andrea Lauren Brown, Lea
Gunhild Lang-Alsvik, Rahel
Siri Karoline Thornhill, Laban
Katharina Ruckgaber, Shepherd

Simon-Mayr-Chor & Ensemble e.V.
Franz Hauk, Direction
NAXOS 8.573237

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Better-known (if at all) as a conductor than as a composer, René Leibowitz was a student of Maurice Ravel and Anton Webern and went on to write an impressive collection of works in a wide range of styles and instrumentations.

Julie Comparini is featured as soloist in "Explanation of Metaphors" for Sprechgesang, harp, two pianos and percussion. See the "Audio" section for a sample!

Schola Heidelberg
ensemble aisthesis
Walter Nußbaum, Direction

Divox CDX-21103-04 More information

"The ancient legend of Orpheus, son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope, as preserved in Ovid's Metamorphoses, can justly be termed the mother of all opera plots..." — Telemann's brilliant and colorful adaptation of the Orpheus myth is a rare jewel from Hamburg's 18th-century Gänsemarkt theater.

Dorothee Mields, Orasia
Markus Volpert, Orpheus
Ulrike Hofbauer, Eurydice
Christian Zenker, Eurimedes
Barbara Kraus, Ismene
Reinhard Mayr, Pluto
Marelieze Gerber, Cephisa
Julie Comparini, Ascalax

L'Orfeo Barockorchester
Directed by Michi Gaigg

Sony Music/deutsche harmonia mundi.

The music of two generations of English composers comes vividly to life in a program created around Shakespearean theater music. The phantasmagorical world of The Tempest, inhabited with unearthly beings, is presented with the florid and sweeping music written for the English Restoration staging, approximately one hundred years after Shakespeare's time. In the second half, the very human comedy of love and folly, Twelfth Night, is presented with original Elizabethan music, as Shakespeare himself might have heard it.

Compositions from: Henry Purcell, Robert Johnson, Matthew Locke and John Banister (The Tempest); and from Thomas Morley, John Dowland and William Cornyshe (Twelfth Night)

Ensemble Sospiri Ardenti

Julie Comparini, mezzo-soprano
Ellen Delahanty, soprano and recorder
Jurgen Debruyn, lute and archlute
Geert Van Gele, recorder and harpsichord

Available at Kattenberg Recordings or as a digital download bei iTunes.

Ensemble S
WDR Sinfonie Orchester Köln
Emilio Pomarico
Walter Nußbaum

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Les Consolations for 16 voices und orchestra
Salut für Caldwell for 2 guitars
Concertini for ensemble

Wilhelm Bruck
Theodor Ross
Schola Heidelberg
Direction: Johannes Kalitzke

Kairos, DDD, 2005/06

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Clouds Without Water is a soundtrack that takes us to the edge of the modern abyss, a sonic painting of the beginnings of the 21st century. It warns us to look, but more importantly, listen, to the world’s fading consciousness instead of ignoring it.

Called by the New York Times as "Masters of the cinematic instrumental", ZOAR has assembled a stunning array of vocalists, including Brendan Perry (DEAD CAN DANCE), Matt Johnson (THE THE), Jennifer Charles (ElYSIAN FIELDS) and newcomer Julie Comparini, for their dark ambient compositions.

Middle Pillar Records
ASIN: B00007EEC3

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Works by Weiland, Rautenstein, H. Albert, Hakenberger, Dulichius, Chr. Bernhard, Becker, Weckmann, Obrecht, Di Lasso, Pevernage, Clemens non Papa\

Ensemble Weser-Renaissance Bremen
Directed by: Manfred Cordes

CPO, DDD, 2000

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