Count Sanvitale's Music Archive

Le feste d’Imeneo – Sc.162

The Archive consists of a remarkable colletion of printed and handwritten music, a precious collection of libretto’s, periodics and books of musical interests.

Gradually acquired between 1878 and the first years of the XX century, it results from the varying music interests and the specific competence of count Stefano Sanvitale (1838-1914) who constantly enriched his archive.
Particularly interesting are the sections of sacred and profane vocal music, which include about 900 manuscripts of the XVIII and XIX century coming from the Quilici family’s music Archive from Lucca, purchased by Sanvitale in 1891.

The main musical form of the profane vocal music section is the chamber cantata, both of the XVII century, represented by Alessandro Scarlatti, and the XVIII century, of which the most significant exponents are Johann Adolf Hasse, Leonardo Leo, Benedetto Marcello, Nicola Antonio Porpora and Domenico Scarlatti.
The sacred music of  Sanvitale’s Archive documents the intense activity of Lucca in the religious field in the XVIII-XIX centuries. It was one of the most musical cities in Italy, especially during the XVIII century, and had an international importance because of the high number of its composers and the great social function attributed to the music. The sacred section includes the music, almost all handwritten, created for the public worship by the masters of Lucca who directed the many music institutions of this city, among which are to remember the Quilici family members, Domenico (1757-1831), Biagio (1774-1861) and Massimiliano (1799-1889), productive composers of sacred music, and the Puccini dynasty, Giacomo I (1712-1781) and Antonio (1747-1832).
It is also significative the instrumental music section, linked to the activity of the count who was one of the founders of the Parma Quartet Society and organized many music parties in his palace, and the rich collection of libretto’s, about 7.000 items, from the beginnings of the opera to the first years of the XX century.
In this collection appear the libretto’s of the first performances in Parma, precious sources of the musical theatre history, used by Paolo Emilio Ferrari to edit the theatrical chronology Musical-dramatic and choreographic plays in Parma from 1628 to 1883 (Parma, Battei, 1884), dedicated to count Sanvitale who suggested and subsidized the work.