All of the pieces on this scholarly 17th-century vocal program were either composed by or set to texts written by Italian or English women. The Italian half of the bill consists of a sacred madrigal, a sonetto, and a canzonetto by Francesca Caccini, a celebrated Florentine singer; a witty cantata by the gifted Barbara Strozzi, who espoused feminism in her father's music academy; and a flowery motet by Isabella Leonarda, a prolific abbess from a well-connected family. Helping represent the English are two lesser-known but fascinating writers, Katherine Philips and Aphra Behn. Philips headed a literary circle in the mid-1600s and penned poetry reputed to be the equal of Dryden's; her melancholy-drenched text has inspired work by Purcell, Henry Lawes, and James Hart that's on the program. Behn, on the other hand, was England's first professional woman writer; she wrote 17 produced plays after an early career as a spy for the British government in Holland. Her comedies were deemed ribald, which is pretty much the tone of the songs written by Purcell and Robert Smith for their stage productions. Next to nothing is known about Elizabeth Hampden and "My Lady Killigrewe," whose lute songs are also featured. Soprano Christine Brandes, who's sung with the Newberry Consort and Les Arts Florissants, is the soloist. Accompanying her are violist da gamba Mary Springfels, harpsichordist Barbara Weiss, and theorbo player Gregory Hamilton. Thursday, May 12, 7:30 PM, Three Arts Club, 1300 N. Dearborn; 764-4832 or 944-6250.