Audacium Baroque Ensemble

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Gabriella Di Laccio – soprano
Layil Barr – recorder and viol
James Akers – baroque guitar and theorbo
David Wright – harpsichord

BARBARA STROZZIChe si può fare
FRANCESCA CACCINIChe amor sia nudo
Che to fatt’io
Io veggio i campi verdeggiar fecondi
ELISABETH JACQUET DE LA GUERREHarpsichord Suite No. 1 in D Minor
Amor Dormiglione
ANNA APPLEBYWinds of Iona (solo voice)
EMILIA GIULIANIPrelude 2 (solo guitar)
ATHÉNAIS PAULIANVariations on a theme of Mozart (solo guitar)
CATHARINA PRATTENRhapsody Funebre (solo guitar)
FANNY HENSELThree Songs for Voice and Guitar
BARBARA STROZZILilla crudele ad onta d’amore
FRANCESCA CACCINIChe desia di saper

Her Music: Five Centuries of Music by Women Composers

Featuring award-winning Brazilian soprano Gabriella Di Laccio - founder of the groundbreaking charity Donne: Women in Music and one of the BBC’s 100 most influential women of the world in 2018 - Audacium Baroque Ensemble specialises in music from the 17th and 18th centuries with a focus on works by lesser-known (but equally interesting and significant!) women composers.

For this concert the group presents a wonderfully varied selection of works for soprano and continuo as well as solo harpsichord/voice/guitar, bringing to life over 500 years of neglected music by women composers from the 17th century to the present day.

To find out more about the Audacium Baroque Ensemble, see

More information about Gabriella Di Laccio and the Donne foundation can be found at and

With the support of a generous legacy from Dr Philip da Costa

Photo credit: Drama Arts Ltd

This concert is part of Skipton Music’s 75th anniversary season ‘Hidden Treasures: Celebrating Women Composers Across the Ages.’


Women on Song

Skipton Music's anniversary season 'Hidden Treasures' continued with a wide-ranging review of vocal music by women composers, given by the Audacium Baroque Ensemble and spanning the four centuries from the early baroque to the present day.

If anyone remains sceptical about the quality of music written by women composers throughout Western musical history, this concert will surely have made some converts. For me, the 'hidden treasures' were the three songs written by the teenage Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel, the original piano accompaniments happily transferring to guitar; and the exuberant variety of mood and character of the songs by the Italian baroque singer-composers Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini. But there were treasures throughout the programme, including the haunting lullaby written in a concentration camp by the Jewish composer and poet Ilse Weber, like Gideon Klein from the previous season a tragic victim of the Nazi holocaust.

The Brazilian soprano Gabriella Di Laccio was an engaging compère and a compelling advocate of the cause so dear to her heart. I was particularly moved by her singing of the simpler items in the programme – the Ilse Weber lullaby, Anna Appleby's folk-like 'Winds of Iona', the Holst/Christina Rosetti 'In the Bleak Midwinter' which made an unexpected but apt encore.

To my taste, the baroque items were rather less successful, with excessive ornamentation in the solo lines and distracting continuo realisation. Of course some decoration there must be – baroque music can hardly breathe without – but perhaps it is a case of less is more, especially for pieces that will have been unfamiliar to virtually the whole audience. But that is a small cavil against what was otherwise another totally convincing and enjoyable concert in this fascinating season.

Charles Dobson