BELLA DISCORDIA is an ensemble consisting of a considerably big continuo group and one singer. During concerts the musicians try to reconstruct the intimate atmosphere of the private court concerti of the early modern Italy where female singers played a crucial role. The group was founded by Maria Skiba and Reinhild Waldek in 2005 in Vienna (a brief history below).

Bella Discordia performs all over Europe in various settings (always soprano and basso continuo, although the continuo group varies) and concentrates on music of the female composers/singers of the Italian seicento. In 2010 they recorded their first CD with music of Barbara Strozzi. In 2012 they combined music of Barbara Strozzi with pieces of her older colleague – Francesca Caccini.

Bella Discordia has already been present during some prestigious festivals such as: Letni slavnosti stare hudby in Prague, Song of Our Roots in Jaroslaw (Poland), Trigonale (Austria). In 2011 they performed (among others) during Donau Westwochen in Austria.



CD La Virtuosissima

In December 2012 our first CD - La Virtuosissima with music of Barbara Strozzi was released by the label LI DESIGN.

BELLA DISCORDIA – A brief history

Bella Discordia was officially founded in 2005, Reinhild and Maria, however, have thought about creating something ‘of their own’ much earlier – already during their studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. They have often played together and the opera production in the Stadttheater Koblenz, where they performed together has probably influenced the creation of this programme. Then, during the rehearsals for Henry Purcell’s King Arthur, they finally decided that they absolutely, necessarily and undoubtedly HAD TO found an ensemble together. From the very beginning it was clear what music period they would choose and that it would be early seventeenth century in Italy, as for them both this time in the music history is very special. It was a time of so much ferment both in music and in aesthetics, a very dynamic time that the ladies Waldek and Skiba have always found extremely intriguing. Their search for the appropriate repertoire was considerably easy, as so many pieces from that time are written for soprano and basso continuo. Although maybe because of this it was not that easy? After one of the performances they had a few rehearsal days planned and because Maria still lived in Krakow back then and Reinhild in Vienna, on Maria’s way home they travelled from Koblenz to Vienna. In Vienna ‘La Virtuosissima Cantatrice’ programme with pieces of Barbara Strozzi has been born. In a small apartment in the attic they played all the pieces from the collection and they immediately knew that it was ‘their music’, not only because it fitted so well their performance possibilities but most of all because it daunted them with its beauty and depth. Those few days in Vienna was a time full of stunning poetry and amazing music of Barbara Strozzi…

And still a little more about the group....

The members of the group have all studied early music and have chosen this period (17th century) as the most suiting their tastes. Ever since the beginning of the ensemble they have sought to incorporate all known aspect of this music in their performance practice – the affects, colours, ornamentation, the use of vibrato, instrumentation….

It is certainly impossible to bring back the lost sound of this music but we can attempt to reconstruct what we can, reading the treatises of the time, reading about the time but most importantly reading the music itself, using the original notation, decoding the language of the poems and music intertwined together. And while doing all this the members of the group do come across impossible arguments and quarrels, which they do try to solve (usually succeeding) – and thus the name – bella discordia, in Italian means something like ‘beautiful disagreement’...




Contact us under (Also for information in German/auf Deutsch and Polish/po polsku) belladiscordia(at)web.de; Reinhild Waldek: +43 699 12280486; 

Copyright Adam Bogusz 2009, powered by geboe.pl