History

Biblioteca: interno agli inizi del 1900

The Library was instituted by the Royal Decree of 14th July 1889, no. 6431, with the union between the music books and manuscripts of the Palatine Library and the Conservatory Archive. Therefore the constitutive collections are the Borbone Dukes Archive and the Maria Luigia d'Austria Archive from the Palatine Library, the ancient Music School - after become the State Conservatory - Archive and part of the Sanvitale Collection that the count Stefano had already given to the school.
The institution of the Palatine Library Musical section, closely related to the birth of the Conservatory, is a result of the intense and constant activity of Giovanni Mariotti, Royal Commissioner for the rearrangement of the Music School. It was the final act of his long work that led to the transformation of the Music School into the State Conservatory and the crowning achievement of an important reform that significantly raised the musical institute of Parma's destiny.
Already before the establishment of the Library, the art. 69 of the Conservatory Statute in 1888 instituted a music library that would gather up the music books and manuscripts preserved in the Palatine Library and in the Conservatory Archive.
Already before the establishment of the Library, by following the art. 69 of the Conservatory Statute in 1988 was instituted a music library that would gather up the music books and documents preserved in the Palatine Library and the ones of the Conservatory Archive.
Mariotti also provided the new institute with an appropriate bibliographic support and a library with research and study instruments for the future musicians, as well as a more extensive supply of books than the old music school archive. The new institution was given the legal arrangement of a public library, to be enjoyed by everyone and not only by the music students.
The first librarian was Michele Carlo Caputo (1838-1928), librettist, writer, historian and music critic, but after 1901, following the art. 65 of the Conservatory Statute, the library direction was given to music history professors. The ambiguity of the laws and the lack of continuity of a librarianship guide negatively influenced the activity and development of the library.
A good period for the history of the institution was the direction of Guido Gasperini (1865-1942), music expert, teacher and composer, who also left a mark in the musical panorama of Parma. Besides having established and directed a Schola Cantorum that found out ancient music papers, Gasperini, a real pioneer of the modern italian musicology, created the Italian Musicologists Association in Parma, to discover and let the world know the many treasures of the italian musical art.
One of the first volumes published by the Association was the General catalogue of the music works, both theoretical and practical, handwritten or printed... belonging to the libraries and archives of Parma (Parma, Fresching, 1911),for many years the only instrument that allowed the knowledge of the Musical section collections worldwide.
The librarian heritage was gradually increased by purchases, donations, legacies. Particularly interesting are the purchases from the Romagnoli-Dall'Acqua library in 1899, consisting in 15 handwritten volumes of 463 sonata by Domenico Scarlatti. It represents, together with the 15 volumes of the Marciana Library in Venezia, the main source of the harpsichord works of the Neapolitan master. There's also an interesting collection of madrigals and roundelays printed in the XVI and XVII century, with very rare publications, purchased by the Florentine antique dealer Gozzini in 1925. The heritage has been enriched by legacies and donations by the Conservatory directors, such as Giovanni Bottesini, Giusto Dacci, Giovanni Tebaldini, Luigi Ferrari Trecate, and teachers like Cleofonte Campanini, Giulio Cesare Ferrarini, Giovanni Bolzoni, Giovanni Rossi, Rosalinda Sacconi, Emilio Usiglio. Therefore the library doesn't only document the musical activity of the Duchy, but also the one of the second half of the XIX century and the first years of the XX century.
Ildebrando Pizzetti's legacy (consisting of his roman studio with all of his music works, handwritten and printed, epistolar exchanges, documents, photographs, ornaments and his piano), together with Arrigo Boito's letters and the original manuscript of an early symphony by Giuseppe Verdi, are the most significant acquisitions of the second half of the XX century. These days, the continuous enrichment of the collections, together with a better distribution of the services and a greater institutional and economic stability, make the Musical Section a very specialized and functioning library, having an important role not only in the cultural life of such a musical life as Parma, but also in the international panorama.