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Music and musicians in the letters of Giuseppe Riva to Agostino Steffani (1720-27).

Although the name of Giuseppe Riva is familiar to students of music in eighteenth-century London, the man behind it is relatively unknown.(1) Having been secretary to the Modenese historian Lodovico Antonio Muratori from 1712 and acquired diplomatic experience in Bologna and Rome, he served as the Modenese diplomatic representative in London from 1715 to 1729, when he moved to Vienna. In London he was a prominent and active member of an Italian circle that included Giovanni Bononcini, the alto castrato Francesco Bernardi (known as Senesino), the librettist Paolo Rolli and others associated with the Royal Academy of Music.(2) He was nominated in November 1719 by the directors of the opera company to engage Senesino for the following season,(3) and in 1724, at least, he resided with Bononcini in Suffolk Street.(4) From 1719 to 1734 he corresponded with Rolli(5) and from 1720 to 1738 with the London-based merchant, diplomat and amateur harpsichordist Giovanni Giacomo Zamboni;(6) he also continued to correspond with Muratori, to whom, in 1725, he explained what was needed in a libretto intended for London.(7) The contralto Anastasia Robinson consulted him in 1722/3 for advice on how to approach Handel with a request for revisions to the part of Matilda in his opera Ottone,(8) while the ex-financier and patron Pierre Crozat, the actor and theatre historian Luigi Riccoboni and the composer Attilio Ariosti wrote to him in 1720-28 in connection with the establishment of Italian opera in Paris.(9) His short treatise entitled Advice to the Composers and Performers of Vocal Musick and its Italian version Avviso ai compositori, ed ai cantanti were published in London by Thomas Edlin in 1727 and 1728 respectively.(10) As Lowell Lindgren has written, 'Riva was notorious for his preoccupation with music, and, according to some friends, even one of his colds was probably caused by "singing too much"'.(11)

Agostino Steffani - composer, diplomat, Bishop of Spiga and Apostolic Vicar of northern Germany - is not known to have visited England, but he was based in Hanover from 1688 to 1703 and from 1709 to 1728, was acquainted with Bononcini, Ariosti and Handel and was well aware of events in London following the Hanoverian succession of 1714. After his death, in 1728 at Frankfurt, a large proportion of his papers was left behind in Hanover. This collection, which later became known as the 'Registratur des Bischofs von Spiga', is preserved in the Niedersachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; it is outhoused at Pattensen, a village to the south of Hanover, and carries the pressmark Cal. Br. 23c. File number 443 in the collection contains 78 letters from Riva to Steffani and a handful to or from other correspondents, including two from Nicola Francesco Haym to Steffani and one from John Ernest Galliard to Riva.(12) Most of the letters are concerned with current affairs of Church or State, but music or musicians are discussed or mentioned in eighteen of Riva's letters as well as in those of Haym and Galliard. Although some of these letters have been used by earlier scholars, the collection as a whole has not been published. The current article presents an annotated edition of the musical portions of the letters in Cal. Br. 23c, Nr. 443,(13) and supplements several existing studies of Italians in London in the early eighteenth century.(14)

Half of Riva's eighteen 'musical' letters to Steffani were written in 1720-21, during the first full year of the Royal Academy. On 2 December 1720 Riva thanked Steffani for his kindness during his 'sojourn in Hanover': the date of this visit is not known, but it is clear that Riva was personally acquainted with Steffani and with members of the court in Hanover as well as in London. Given the close links between Hanover and Modena in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries,(15) especially following the marriage of Rinaldo d'Este to Charlotte Felicitas of Brunswick-Luneburg in 1695, it is possible that Riva and Steffani had known each other for some time. Six of the remaining 'musical' letters belong to the year 1726-7; the two from Haym to Steffani and the one from Galliard to Riva also date from 1727. All nine of these letters are concerned with Steffani's membership or presidency of the Academy of Vocal (later Ancient) Music; this doubtless explains why he kept them together. The years 1723, '24 and '25 are represented by one letter each from Riva to Steffani in Padua, where he was in temporary retirement from 1722 to 1725. The correspondence as a whole - the 78 letters - shows that Riva was frequently on the move and, in particular, that in 1723 and 1725, at least, he spent the period August-December in Hanover.

Apart from the Academy of Vocal Music, the main musical topics of concern in Riva's letters to Steffani are singers and singing, and the Royal Academy opera. The singers Matteo Berselli, Faustina Bordoni, Francesca Cuzzoni, Anna Dotti, Margherita Durastanti, Senesino and Benedetta Sorosina all make at least one appearance. Faustina and Cuzzoni are twice compared (in letters 15 and 19) in terms reminiscent of the contemporaneous Avviso. Riva's pronounced partiality for Bononcini and his music is evident on page after page (e.g. letters 1, 2 and 11), and his language again recalls that of the Avviso. Bononcini apparently offered to coach Sorosina in her parts and use her in his concerts for the Duchess of Marlborough (letter 12). Riva regularly transmits expressions of Bononcini's affection and respect for Steffani, but the predictability of his words makes one wonder whether the feelings were genuine or deep. Handel comes off rather worse, two letters (1 and 2) comparing him unfavourably with Bononcini and two others (4 and 11) reporting failures of his operas. When Handel fared well, Riva tended to observe that Bononcini, or the opera company, was doing badly; he thus gives a rather one-sided account of the Academy's affairs, and an exaggerated view of its difficulties. On the other hand, he apparently thought that, by claiming (wrongly) that Handel was a member of the Academy of Vocal Music, he would be more likely to quicken Steffani's interest in the institution - which suggests that Steffani, at least, held Handel in high regard.

Overarching all these affairs is Riva's role as a musical middle-man. He would get hold of manuscript music and send it to a colleague by post (letters 6 and 7), and was involved in a plan, which remained unfulfilled, to bring the librettist Stefano Benedetto Pallavicini from Dresden to London (letter 9). When Steffani wanted to secure a London engagement for Sorosina, he wrote to Riva (letter 10); when Riva wished to help an Italian musician find employment in Germany, he recommended him to Steffani (letter 17). Above all, perhaps, Riva succeeded in persuading Steffani to accept that he had been elected an honorary member, and then president, of the Academy of Vocal Music, to compose (under his pseudonym Gregorio Piva) at least one new work for the institution, and to send copies of his earlier music to London (letters 14-21).


Riva's letters to Steffani, and Galliard's letter to Riva (18), are presented in chronological order and numbered in sequence. Haym's two letters to Steffani (16 and 21) are placed immediately after those by Riva with which they were sent. Folio numbers give the full extent of the letters from which the extracts are taken and the location of the letters in Hanover, Niedersachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Cal. Br. 23c, Nr. 443. These documents are supplemented by extracts from two letters - the first from Steffani to Riva (12a), the second from Riva to Steffani (22) - preserved in the other major collection of Steffani's papers, Rome, Archivio Storico della Sacra Congregazione per l'Evangelizzazione dei Popoli (formerly de Propaganda Fide), Fondo Spiga.

All the extracts, including place and date of writing, are presented in their original language. The spelling, punctuation, accents and capitalization of the source are retained as faithfully as possible (there is occasionally some doubt about the direction of an accent or the size of an initial), but abbreviations are expanded (in parentheses), and, where appropriate, 'u' is tacitly transcribed as 'v'. Editorial additions are placed in square brackets.

Each letter or extract is followed by a paraphrase or summary of its content, together with explanatory comments. Unattributed information comes from The New Grove.

1 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 135(r)-136(r))

Londra 2 Di(cembr)e 1720

Sabbato passato si aperse ii Teatro delle opere ed ando in scena l'Astarto Poesia di Apostolo Zeno, e Musica di Bononcino che si trova qui, e che ha maravigliosam(en)te incontrato, ed in verita non si possono meglio movere gli affetti he interessarsi piu nelle passioni degli Attori di quello che si fa in quest'opera; in due parole questa e una musica, che va a dirittura al cuore senza tanti giri, e contragiri; cio che ho sentito dal mio sig(nor)e Piva dire ch'era la cosa piu difficile, e meno praticata al pres(en)te: Alcuni trasportati per Hendel vorrebbero trovare qualche cosa da dire, ma e difficile di resistere al Torrente. I cantanti e recitano, e cantano bene assai. I Pr(inci)pi Reali hanno proposta un'opera detta del Pira intitolata il Tassilone. I direttori dell'Accademia vogliono servire alle loro Altezze, e perche la muslea sia regolata con aroore, ed esattezza hanno pregato Bononcino a dirigerla, non fidandosi del fracasso di qualche altro, e dubitando ancora di rifiuto. Bononcino ha risposto che si fara gloria di servire alla composiz(ion)e del s(igno)r Pira, che considera ii S(an)t Agostino della Musica. Bisognera mutar qualche poco di recitativi ma non si fara la minor alteraz(ion)e nelle Arie. Bononcino che sa che lo ho l'onore d'esser Se(rvito)re di V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma si recerca di procurargli quello della stim(atissi)ma di lei grazia, e di presentarle i di lui rispetti. Io son qui tutto agli ordini di V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma, assicurandola che ho portato meco la memoria delle grazie cordial(issim)e generose, ch'ella mi ha fatte nel mio soggiorno a Hanover. Indrizzo la pre(sent)e al sig(nor)e Sardi di Amsterdam. Riverisca div(otamen)te il mio caro sig(nor)e Bos(s)is, e sono con egual stima, e veneraz(ion)e ...

Riva states that the opera house opened 'last Saturday' with Bononcini's Astarto and that the work was a great success. No opera could better move the affections; the music went straight to the heart without so many twists and turns ('senza tanti giri, e contragiri') - something that 'my lord Piva' said was most difficult and little practised at present. The singers performed very well, and Handel's supporters were lost for words. [Astarto opened the second Royal Academy season on 19 November 1720. The libretto was adapted from Zeno and Pariati by Rolli, and the production enjoyed a run of 23 performances in the season, longer than any of Handel's. Riva's comments on the affective power of music are extremely interesting and reflect his preference for the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century style of singing soon to be described with such eloquence by Tosi(16) and by Riva himself.(17) 'Piva' was Steffani's pseudonym as a composer after about 1706.(18)]

The royal family [apparently] had suggested that the Academy should put on the opera Tassilone, 'said to be by Piva' ('detta del Piva'). [Tassilone (Dusseldorf, 1709) is generally attributed to Steffani and has been edited as his by Gerhard Croll,(19) but it is far from typical of his style.] To ensure that the work be performed with love and care ('con amore, ed esattezza'), the directors of the Academy had asked Bononcini to direct it; the latter had agreed, and proposed to change a few recitatives but to leave the arias alone. Bononcini called Steffani the 'St Augustine of Music' [a reference presumably to Steffani's transformation from worldly composer to Bishop of Spiga and Apostolic Vicar of northern Germany].

In conclusion, Riva sent Steffani Bononcini's respects, mentioned one of his own visits to Hanover, sent greetings to 'Bossis' and addressed his letter to 'Sardi' of Amsterdam. ['Sardi' may be the Monsignore Cesare Sardi known from the collection of Steffani's papers in Rome; Bossis was Steffani's secretary.(20)]

2 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (if. 19(r)-20(r))

Londra 5 [gennaro] del 1721

... Cio nonostante ii Teatro dell'opera e sempre pieno a mezza Ghinea il biglietto, che vuol dire al doppio del solito. Si sono fatte 12 recite della bell'opera di Bononcino, e questa sera ne va in scena la prima volta una dell'Handel; Io ne ho intesa la prova generale ed oh che differenza per chi ama la musica che tocca il cuore. Bononcino ne prepara un altra, e pretende di far ancor meglio; Egli rende um(ilissi)me grazie a V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma della bonta che ha per lui, le presenta i suoi rispetti, e la supplica di fare che ii Piva non si valga, dovendosi qui regolar qualche cosa del suo, che di lui promettendo d'assistere con attenzione, ed onoratezza. Non si e poi fatt'altro del Tassillone perche bisognava levare tre personaggi, ii che non si poteva fare senza guastar l'opera ...

Riva reports that there have been twelve performances of Bononcini's 'beautiful opera' [Astarto] and that the theatre has always been full, even at half-a-guinea a ticket. This evening will see the first performance of an opera by Handel [presumably the revival of Radamisto, which opened on 28 December 1720]; Riva has heard the general rehearsal and feels that the music does not touch the heart like Bononcini's. The latter is already preparing another opera, even better than the last. Nothing more has been done about Tassilone because it requires three additional singers, which would ruin the Academy's finances.

3 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (if. 9(r)-10(v))

Londra ce vendredi 10 ien(vie)r 1721

... nous avons opera, et comedies angloises et francoises et tous les Theatres sont toiiours pleins, quoiq'a l'opera l'on paiie une demi ghinee; l'on dit que l'on ii va pour dissiper le chagrin eta la verite ie crois que bien des persones ce remandent[?] en d'autres choses pour soutenir la comparse [?comporte] publique: Je suis monseigneur sans reserve tres respectueusement a vous ...

'We have opera, and English and French plays, and all the theatres are always full, even though the opera costs half-a-guinea. They say that people go there to drown their sorrow, and in truth I believe that many are immersing themselves in other things in order to keep up appearances.' [The last sentence may refer to the financial disaster of the South Sea Bubble, which burst in the summer of 1720.]

4 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (if. 14(r) - 15(r))

Londra 6 feb(brai)o 1721

... Ho portate le grazie al sig(nor) Bononcino, che si degna di fargli; Egli vi corrisponde con infinita venerazione, e dice che si fara gloria di servire alle produzioni musicali del Piva, che stima tanto. Ed ii caso ha portato che si metta in possesso di questa prerogativa, perch' essendo egli una sera da M(ademoisel)le Schulembourg nipote della Duchessa di Kandall [Kendal], ii Re gli mando a far vedere un principio d'una Pastorale, e ne riconobbe la mano; e siccome M[ada]ma di Kilmansegg diede una Musica al Re nel suo quarto privatissima regolata dal suo servidor Brighella, che son[?]'io, cosi pensamamo di sorprendere agreablement S(ua) M(aesta) con d(ett)a Pastorale, onde Bononcino ne fece cavar gl'Instrumenti; e fu cantata da i due bravi Senesino, e Berselli. Non puo ella credere che gusto ebbe ii Re di questa finezza, e con che amore Bononcino l'ofrisse. Hendel ha rimessa sul Teatro un'opera che l'anno passato fece gran fracasso (in terra di ciechi beati monoculi) credendo di butare in terra quella di Bononcino, ma la terza sera fu scena vuota, onde bisogno disdirsi.

Un amico arriva in questo punto da me, e mi assicura che altri 9 direttori della Comp(agni)a sono stati arrestati, e che da costoro tutti almeno 6 millioni ne tireranno. Non ho tempo p(er) piu. Sono col solito ossequio ...

Riva states that Bononcini would be honoured to assist with 'the musical productions of Piva' and that chance has given him an opportunity to do so. One evening, at Mademoiselle von der Schulenburg's, the king had asked Bononcini to show him the beginning of a 'pastorale' and had recognized the hand; whereupon Madame Kielmansegg had organized a concert for the king in her own apartments and surprised him with this work. Bononcini had extracted the instrument[al part]s, and the piece was sung by Senesino and Berselli. The king was delighted. ['Mademoiselle' Petronilla Melusine von der Schulenburg was the daughter of George I's mistress, Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, but was imported as her niece and, in 1722, became Countess of Walsingham. Her mother was made Duchess of Munster and, in 1719, of Kendal. Madame Kielmansegg, evidently George's half-sister, was the wife of Johann Adolf von Kielmansegg, the king's Vice-Master of the Horse.(21) The implication of Riva's account is that the 'pastorale' was a piece of music by Steffani. If it was, it cannot be identified, but it may have been a chamber duet for soprano, alto and continuo, with or without additional instruments. Alternatively, it could conceivably have been a version of Bononcini's Erminia (Rome, 1719), which was rewritten for London (30 March 1723) and referred to as 'M. Bononchini's pastorale' in a letter to Riva of 15/26 May.(22)]

Riva also reports that Handel has revived an opera that made a great noise last year; the composer believes that he may thus topple Bononcini, but on the third evening the theatre is empty. [The opera was Radamisto, which received seven performances in the 1720/21 season.] Finally, Riva is informed by a friend that another nine directors of the [South Sea] Company have been arrested.

5 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (if. 26(r)-27(v))

Londra 21 Marzo 1721

... Per l'embrione consaputo p(er) dar forma al quale si aspettavano in Dresda mie informazioni; dico a lei in questo foglio, che le cose vanno al presente cosi male, come avevano cominciato bene. Si e introdotto lo spirito maligno de' Partiti, ch'e tanto naturale al genio Inglese, nell'Accademia di musica in modo che al presente le cose vanno allo traverso, e vi e tutt'altro, che armonia. Non si sa ancora se Senesini restera; Berselli e in campagna malato, la Durastante ha partorito; Bononcino ora ride, ora s'adira reggendo ordinarsi spropositi, e cosi le cose sono alla immitaz(ion)e di tutte le altre, in un sommo disordine. Se prendessero mal buona forma, lo non manchero di dare a lei subito la relaz(ion)e che si desidera ...

[It is not clear who Riva's contact in Dresden was, but it was from there that he had persuaded Senesino to travel to London. The reference to Dresden in this letter may relate to a plan to bring over the librettist Stefano Benedetto Pallavicini (see letter 9).]

Riva complains that the Academy is split into factions, as is so natural to the English temperament ('tanto naturale al genio Inglese'). Senesino may or may not stay; Berselli is in the country, ill; Durastanti has given birth [to a daughter, in February; George I and the Princess Royal stood as godparents on 2 March]; and Bononcini hardly knows whether to laugh or rage: thus the disarray of one thing [the Academy opera company] imitates the disaster of another [the South Sea Company].

6 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 35(r)-36(v))

Londra 19[?29] Giu(gn)o 1721

... L'accademia di Musica si riduce ad'una specie di comp(agni)a del Sud. Il genio de' partiti, proprio di questa nazione: ed ii Potegolismo cantatricico (la Crusca perdoni la liberta) peccato originale della Professione hanno dato il Tracolo alle cose. Bononcino se la passa bene; ha messa in musica l'ultima opera che si recitera quest'anno intitolata il Ciro, ch'e un pezzo di Paradiso[.] Se verro meco ne portero alcune arie ...

Riva compares the Academy explicitly to the South Sea Company. Factionalism and 'singeristic power-throatism' ('il Potegolismo cantatricico') have pushed it over the edge. Bononcini has written the last opera to be performed this year ('Ciro') - 'a heavenly composition' ('un pezzo di Paradiso'). [Since the Academy had been (satirically) compared to the South Sea Company as early as March 1720,(23) Riva's observation is decidedly stale. 'Ciro' was first performed on 20 May 1721 as L'odio e l'amore (libretto by Rolli after Matteo Noris).]

7 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 42(r)-43(r))

Londra p(ri)mo Agosto 1721

... oh quante maledizioni contro questo Parlamento da quelli che hanno perdute le loro sostanze nella furiosa tempesta del mare del Sud, perche credevano che quello avrebbe fatto goder loro Benefizio di Iona: oh me sovviene a questo proposito una certa aria in basso di Bononcino ch'egli dice aver fatta per certe monache: le parole dicono: Ecco lona in mezzo al mare: suo miratelo, che pare nato scoglio, scoglio nato in mezzo all'onde. Seconda parte: Su correte picinini co' gli uncini: e tiratelo alla sponda ...

La durastante fece un concerto nel Teatro per suo Benefizio. Ebbe l'onore dell'Intervento del Re, che desidero si cantassero alcuni duetti del sig(nor) Piva, e per cio fece che Mad(ama) di Kilmansegg ne pregasse Senesino. II successo fu indifferente, perche altri che i buoni Pittori, ed i conoscitori della Pittura gustono i disegni di Raffaele. Un tal Sandoni Bolognese era al cembalo: Bononcini sempre ricorda a lei ii suo rispetto e le rende grazie della continuaz(ion)e della di lei memoria ...

La supplico di ... riverire in occasione di vederlo il sig(nor) Venturini, cui mandero p(er) prima congiontura alcune arie di Bononcini. Ella mi continui ii prezioso suo affetto, e mi confermo ...

Those who have lost fortunes in the South Sea disaster are now cursing Parliament. The episode reminds Riva of an aria for bass voice that Bononcini had composed for some nuns, 'Ecco Iona in mezzo al mare'.(24)

Riva also reports on Durastanti's benefit concert, at which the king desired her to sing some duets by 'Piva'; Mme Kielmansegg enlisted Senesino for the purpose, and Sandoni was at the harpsichord, yet the result was indifferent. [The concert took place at the King's Theatre on 5 July 1721; Durastanti sang 'new cantatas by Sandoni and Handel (probably 'Crudel tiranno Amor', HWV 97) and, with Senesino, four arias and six duets by Steffani'.(25)]

Finally, Riva asks Steffani to pass on greetings to Signor Venturini, to whom Riva intends, at the earliest opportunity, to send some Bononcini arias. [The Venturini in question was presumably Francesco Venturini (c. 1675-1745), a violinist who had become Konzertmeister at Hanover in 1713 and later Kapellmeister.]

8 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 47(r)-48(r))

Londra 26 Ag(os)to 1721

... Mi valevo di quanto ella mi scrive da parte del sig(nor)e Piva. II sig(nor)e Bononcino la riverisce sempre con ogni rispetto. Le cose dell'Accad(emia) Musicale sono in sconcerto. Non hanno ancor finito di pagare i loro debiti della stagione. oh che teste sono q(ues)ti Inglesi! oh e poi so lamentano che sono granellati da' forestieri! se lo meritano, perche non hanno costanza ne loro impegni, e chi conosce la loro natura, vede, che bisogna prenderli al volo. Quanto mai si somiglia ii congresso di Cambray aquello di Bronuy [?Broni]. I miei rispetti al sig(nor)e ab(bat)e Mauro mio stim(atissi)mo, ed agli altri buoni amici. Ella mi onori della continuaz(ion)e della riverita sua grazia, e mi creda a prova di cannone ...

Riva claims that the Academy is in disarray, that it has not paid off last season's debts, and that the English are incapable of running an opera company. The congress of Cambrai [1721-5] is coming increasingly to resemble that of Broni [a small town west of Piacenza where Prince Eugene of Savoy defeated the French in 1713].

Finally, Riva asks Steffani to pass on his respects to 'abbate' Mauro. [A secretary and councillor to the dukes of Hanover from at least 1663, and a priest and 'abbate' from 1675, (Bartolomeo) Ortensio Mauro (1632/3-1725) wrote the librettos of Steffani's six three-act operas for Hanover (1689-95) and was a central figure in the Catholic community there.]

9 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (if. 54(r) - 55(v))

Twitenham [Twickenham] 7 Oct(obr)e 1721

Alla barba degli ultimi due anni passati, che ho dovuto stare a muso asciutto, mi prendo quest'anno una scorpacciata di villeggiatura, ma tenoris infrascripti. Sono due mesi, e piu che mi godo questo verdissimo luogo in buona, geniale, ed onesta compagnia sul Tamigi, due miglia lontano da Richmond, e cinque da Kinsigton [Kingston]. Ho carrozza, e Barca alla mia disposizione. Si da lavoro al dente col migliore che produce l'aria, il bosco, e l'acqua; e si umeta il gargozzo con vini di Monte Pulciano, di Borgogna, e d'altri luoghi favoriti dal figlio di Semele; si giuoca a l'Hombre, a Tressette, ed a minchiate, si canta, e si suona, essendo qui nostro Bononcino[,] Senesino, e due figlie armoniche, ma Inglesi, procul il cantatricismo Italiano. Questa la vita dira ella con ragione dell'et dell'oro, e per parlar chiaro del beato Porco, perche come ci assicurano i Poeti in quel tempo la chienda [ghianda] era il cibo comune: oportet ire puler puler: Abbiamo due ore la mattina di lettura della storia d'Inghilterra, e tutte le reste la messa. oh veda che non ci manca ne meno il cibo dell'anima, ed il pascolo dello spirito ...

La supplico d'incaminare l'inchiusa al nostro s(igno)r Pallavicino, ch' la risposta di quella da lei favoritami. Abbiamo fatto bene a non imbarcare questo galantuomo pel noto affare, e mi consolo ch'ella non abbia cominciata l'applicazione, perche secondo tutte le apparenze la prossima stagione o non vi saranno opere, o le cose anderanno di male in peggio, perche l'accad(emia) non h a quest'ora presa veruna risoluzione pel cominciamento di quelle; le disgrazie del Sud hanno posta confusione ancora nell'Armonia. A propos(ito) si potrebb'egli per di lei mezzo avere da monaco una confidente, e sincera relazione come piacer col la Durastante? Il Torri potrebbe parlar chiaro a lei: La cosa rester in me; anzi non vorrei, ch'ei sapesse, ch'io avessi una tale curiosit. I miei rispetti al nostro riv(eritissi)mo sig(nor)e ab(bate) Mauro sempre mio stim(atissi)mo P(adr)one, al sig(nor)e Co(nte) di gnomeaux, ed a tutti gli altri miei P(adr)oni et amici; Sono sempre con veneraz(ion)e ...

During the summer of 1721 Riva enjoyed 'a bellyful of country living' ('una scorpacciata di villeggiatura') at Twickenham, where he was 'in close proximity' to Bononcini, Lord Peterborough, Anastasia Robinson, Alexander Pope and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.(26) He paints a mouth-watering picture of his life there, which included the use of a carriage and boat, excellent food and wine, card games, and musical entertainment provided by Bononcini, Senesino and 'two harmonious English girls'. He read English history for two hours every morning, and there was Mass on every feast day.

Riva also encloses a letter for Steffani to forward to Pallavicini [presumably Stefano Benedetto Pallavicini, the librettist of Tassilone, now based in Dresden: his letter provides evidence of a plan to bring Pallavicini to England]. It was just as well that the plan had not been implemented, because the affairs of the Academy were going from bad to worse. Riva also asks Steffani to find out how Durastanti gets on in Munich [she was to sing there that autumn, presumably in Pietro Torri's L'amor d'amico vince ogni altro amore [Pirro e Demetrio], which opened on 12 October]. Riva suggests that Steffani might seek an opinion from Torri, one of his former colleagues, and promises to keep the information to himself[!]

Finally, Riva asks Steffani to pay his respects to Mauro and the 'Conte di Gnomeaux'. [The latter cannot be identified conclusively, but the title could refer perhaps to Monsignor Marchese Andrea Gasparo de Nomis, the Tuscan diplomatic representative in Hanover,(27) or to the Marquis de Nomis who was 'Gentilhomme de la Chambre et Envoye Extraordinaire de S. M. Britannique a la cour de Munster'.(28)]

10 Riva to Steffani in Padua (ff. 114r-115r) Londra 3 Giug(n)o 1723

... Ho letta la sua let(te)ra al nostro sig(nor)e Bononcino, il quale rammemorandole sempre l'infinita sua stima, ed il suo sincero ossequio dice, che siccome in questo Teatro i luoghi sono occupati da tr donne, cos non esservi occas(ion)e per la sig(norin)a Sorosina, che se per altro q(ues)ta sig(norin)a fosse qui, o ch'egli fosse in Italia si farebbe un particolar onore d'insegnare ad una Persona da lei raccomandata, e di tenerla lontana da que' Musicali difetti, che ora regnano in Italia con grave detrimento del vero buon gusto; qui pur troppo la Peste serpeggia, e con arcigogoli si cava l'applauso dal volgo ignorante, e che si pasce di vento, e di vesce. E sebbene la Cuzzoni potrebbe far dimeno, e tirare a se colla verit gl'ignoranti pure ancor ella f di tempo in tempo i suoi giuochi artificiali. Qui per forza de' Partiti che sono l'anima di questo agitato Paese che tiene della natura dell'Elemento che lo circonda abbiamo oltre Bononcino, ed Hendel un terzo compositore di Musica nella Persona del Sig(nor)e alias Padre Attilio Ariosti, un'opera del quale h avuto un buonissimo incontro. Bononcino rester qui ancor l'anno venturo, essendo impegnato, e poi lascier il campo libero. Spera egli di riverirla e di passar seco alcuni giorni.

Il Re fr pochi giorni parte p(er) Hanover; Io non h ancor ricevuti i miei ordini ...

Riva has read to Bononcini a letter from Steffani in which the latter, evidently, had asked whether an engagement in London could be procured for the Venetian soprano Benedetta Sorosina. There was no vacancy in the opera company, because the roles were already taken, but if Bononcini were in Italy, or she in England, he would gladly teach her and 'preserve her from those musical defects that now reign in Italy, to the grave detriment of true good taste'. This plague was also spreading in London, where even Cuzzoni, who could win over the ignorant with genuine feeling ('colla verita'), occasionally played her games of artifice ('i suoi giuochi artificiali'). In addition to Bononcini and Handel there was now a third composer, 'Mr, alias Padre, Attilio Ariosti', one of whose operas had been very well received [his first Academy opera, Coriolano (libretto by Haym), opened on 19 February 1723 and received thirteen performances in the season]. Bononcini had been engaged for the coming year but would then leave the field; he hoped to be able to spend a few days with Steffani. The king would soon leave for Hanover, but Riva had not yet received his instructions.

11 Riva to Steffani in Padua (ff. 140r-141r) Londra 10 Di(cembr)e 1724

... Dalla qui acclusa lett(er)a vedr ella ci che scrivo al sig(nor) Serosina rispondendogli sopra quanto mi h favorito di scrivermi in occasione della venuta qui della s(ignori)na sua figlia, che non ancor comparsa. Secondo i di lei ordini mi sono abboccato col sig(nor)e Conte di Bothmer, ed abbiamo parlato dello smanco[?] &. A parlar franco, tutto consiste nell'incontro che la s(ignori)na Benedetta avr qui, perche l'Accad(emi)a h quest'anno molte spese, e la prima opera ch' di Mr. Handel h cativo successo; Dopo verr quella del P(adre) Attilio, che p(er) necessit sar peggio, e se non si chiama Bononcino al soccorso, le cose anderanno male, e cos il ritardo della sig(norin)a Soresina potrebbe molto nuocerle, ed in quel esso non v' che l'autorit, e la protezione della sig(norin)a Con(tess)a di Walsingham nipote della s(ignor)a Duch(ess)a di Candal [Kendal] che possa rimediarvi. Ella stia pure sicura, che sopra di ci non mancher alla mia attenzione, e far che la sig(norin)a Benedetta si serva di que' mezzi che saranno pi decorosi, e pi utili p(er) lei. Il sig(nor) Bononcino, che le ricorda il suo antico rispetto si far sommo piacere di servir lei; in servendo la sig(norin)a Soresina; e se la Duch(ess)a di Marleborugh sua Padrona, che gli da 500 Ster(lin)i l'anno vorr far qualche musica in sua casa, non dimenticher certam(ent)e la d(ett)a Benedetta.

20 dic(embr)e Sino al giorno d'oggi h trattenuta q(ues)ta mia lettera sperando l'arrivo della s(ignorin)a Benedetta, ma senza pr. E per dirla mi sorprende molto q(ues)to suo ritardo, il quale far pi difficili q(ues)ti s(igno)ri Direttori dell'Accademia, i quali si trovano in angustie p(er)che le opere vanno male assai, essendo andata i(n) scena quella di Attilio con poco successo[.]

Ella mi continui il prezioso suo affetto, e mi creda con tutto l'ossequio ...

Riva sends Steffani a copy of a letter that he has written to Benedetta Sorosina's father in connection with his daughter's visit to London.(29) She has not yet arrived, but Riva has had an interview with Count Bothmer [to try to ensure her success]. All depends on how well she is received. The first opera this season, by Handel, is doing badly; next comes one by Ariosti, which will be worse; and things will deteriorate further if Bononcini is not called to the rescue. [The Handel opera was Tamerlano, which, with twelve performances, was far from being a 'bad result'. Ariosti's offering was Artaserse. Bononcini was not called to the rescue.] The delay in Sorosina's arrival could harm her (and Steffani), but Riva will seek the protection of the Countess of Walsingham. And when the Duchess of Marlborough wants music in her home, Bononcini [who began directing her concerts in May 1724] 'will certainly not forget Benedetta'.

20 December. Riva has held on to his letter in the hope of being able to report on Sorosina's arrival, but she has still not appeared. He is surprised by such a delay, and it will antagonize the Academy directors, who are in dire straits because the operas are going so badly. Ariosti's has now been staged, with little success [Artaserse received ten performances].

12 Riva to Steffani in Padua (ff. 142r-143v) Londra 31 Gen(nar)o 1725

Ho ritardato a rispondere al gent(ilissi)mo foglio di Monsignor Vescovo di Spiga mio gran Padrone, che mi fu consegnato dalla sig(norin)a Sorosina al suo arrivo qui, perche h voluto potergli dare qualche contezza della riuscita che h fatto su questo Teatro la buona Figlia. La sig(norin)a Con(tess)a di Walsingham nipote della Duch(ess)a pens di farle dare una piccinina particina nella vecchia opera di Handel intitolata il giulio Ce(sa)re ch' stata rimessa in Teatro. La volont della Dama fu fatta, Hendel compose due arie, e la sig(norina) Benedetta ubbid. Il successo non poteva esser grande perche le arie sono mediocri, e poi attaccate come si suol dire collo sputo, con tutto ci ebbe il suo applauso proporzionato alla cosa. Io feci broglio la prima sera, e segretam(en)te Bononcino andato da lei ad insegnarla come umanizare quelle inumanit, dico segretam(en)te non dar gelosia agli Hendeliani, e voglio sperare, che in qualche altra opera ove potr la s(ignori)na Benedetta aver la sua parte, ed aiutare il canto coll'azione, si far l'onore, che desideriamo tutti. La dotti che venne da Parigi a cagione del ritardo della s(ignori)na Benedetta, e che h recitato nelle prime due opere nuove, h ottenuta la parte ancor nella terza di Hendel, essendosi fatto un buon partito, e non dipiacendo generalm(en)te il suo modo di cantare, che se bene cativo assai pure aiutato da una voce forte, ed eguale incontra molto. Io voglio sperare, che nella ultima opera che dee fare il Padre, o Mons(ignor)e Attilio avr la figlia la sua parte, e le grandi protezioni ch'Ell'h della Corte non permetteranno che le sia fatto torto, e perche ci non segua io mi adoprer con buon cuore, come h faro e faccio in tutte le occasioni p(er) ubbidire agli ordini di Monsignore, e servire la sig(norina) Benedetta, la quale spero che a quest'ora, mi avr resa buon giustizia sull'attenzione, che h per lei: Bononcino, che ricorda sempre il suo rispetto a Monsig(nor)e si unisce pur egli meco in q(ues)ti sentimenti, ed assister la figlia in tutto ci che dovr cantare. Ne concerti o siano divertim(en)ti musicali, ch'egli fa per la sua generosa Duch(ess)a di Marlebour procurer ch'ella pure canti, e ci potr fargli onore e procurarle utile. Del resto come le opere quest'anno non incontrano troppo, cos pu temersi da qualche spillorcci [spilorcio] direttore dell'Accademia proposizione di defalco, particolarm(en)te p(er) ayer dovuto far venire la dotti da Parigi a cagione del ritardo della sig(norin)a Benedetta. Io sono sempre il cord(ialissi)mo, e dev(otissimo) s(ervito)re di monsignore, onde pu assicurarsi della mia attenz(ion)e in questa, ed in ogni altra congiontura[.] Ma tormi a dire, e ne prevengo con tutta sincerit Monsig(nor)e che temo forte del defalco e che si durer gran fatica ad impedirlo co' presenti economi Direttori; non essendo pi tra loro My(lor)d Peterbror, il Duca di q(u)eensbury, il cav(alie)re Sutton, ed altri, ch'erano quelli, che alla occasione erario generosi, ed avevano carit, e creanza. Dall'altra parte credono costoro che tutte le donne che vengono d'Italia debbano avere il med(esim)o e maraviglioso talento, che h la cuzzoni nel canto, e non distinguono, come Bononcino predica loro, che dovrebbero fare, che il talento della cuzzoni cosa unica al mondo, e che le altre possono aver il suo merito benche sieno da quella lontane. Debbo lar giustizia alla Cuzzoni p(er) quella che rende alla sig(norin)a Benedetta, e per l'impegno che h preso p(er) lei.

Riva has delayed his reply to Steffani's last letter, which had been delivered by Benedetta Sorosina on her arrival in London, in order to be able to give him an account of her performance [his letter proves that Sorosina made her London debut in January 1725, not in early February, as has been suggested(30)]. The Countess of Walsingham had proposed that she be given a small part [Nerina] in the revival of Handel's Giulio Cesare, for which the composer wrote two new arias ['La speranza all'alma mia' and 'Chi perde un momento']. Sorosina could not make a great impression because the arias were 'mediocre and stuck together, as they say, with spit' ('mediocri, e poi attaccate come si suol dire collo sputo'). Bononcini had been to see her to teach her how 'to humanize those inhumanities', and Riva hoped that she would do herself justice in some other opera, in which she could take a leading role and help her singing with action ('aiutare il canto coll'azione'). Because of the delay in Sorosina's arrival, [Anna] Dotti had come from Paris, sung in the first two new operas of the season [Tamerlano and Artaserse] and been given the lead in the third [Eduige in Rodelinda]. She had attracted a good deal of support, and her style of singing was not unpleasing: though seriously flawed ('cativo assai'), it was helped by a strong, even voice and was well received. Riva hoped that Sorosina would be given a part in the last opera of the season; Bononcini would help her with anything she had to sing, and would use her in his concerts for the Duchess of Marlborough. [She appeared both in Ariosti's Dario and in the pasticcio Elpidia, but never sang again on the London stage.]

Riva then goes on to discuss the Academy in more general terms. He expresses concern about its financial position, especially since Lord Peterborough, the Duke of Queensberry and Sir [Robert] Sutton are no longer directors. [Peterborough and Sutton never were directors, though they were both subscribers to the 1723/4 season.(31)] Riva also expresses contempt for the directors' expectations of female Italian singers: they imagine them all to be as talented as Cuzzoni, fail to realize that Cuzzoni's talent is unique, and cannot see that other singers, though different from her, may have merits of their own. Finally, Riva gives Cuzzoni credit for having taken the unfortunate Sorosina under her wing.

12a Steffani to Riva(32)

1725 Marzo. /A/ Mr. Riva. / Padova / 8.

... la dolente storia della Sig(nori)na Sorosina h posto in angustie il di lei Padre, e data a me qualche amarezza ... in ogni luogo oye quella Figlia h cantato, si fatto ogni sforza per riaverla: onde mi dispiacerebbe, che la di lei poco buona riuscita in quel paese facesse torto, non dico il mio gusto nella Musica, perche non importa nulla, ma alla mia ingenuit, ch' stata sempre illibata, e senza rimprovero. Per fortuna il Fratello della Figlia h fatta al Padre une relazione totalm(en)te conforme a quanto ella si degnata scrivermi; aggiungendovi solo di pi, che il Sig(no)r Co(nte) di Bothmer si trovi notabilm(en)te stomacato del procedere di cotesti Sig(no)ri Direttori dell'Accademia. Io non ardisco scriverne oggi aquel degno Ministro ...

... Sopra il tutto gli potranno molto giovare le caute grazie, che gli dispenser il nostro amabil(issi)mo Sig(no)r Bononcini, al quale la supplico portare le pi vive proteste del mio costante desiderio di servirlo ...

Riva's account of Sorosina's debut (letter 12, above) has pained her father and disappointed Steffani, who evidently is anxious about how it may reflect on his judgement. Fortunately, it has been corroborated by her brother, who must have accompanied her to London. Bothmer is apparently disgusted with the behaviour of the Academy directors.

13 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (f. 144r-v)

Londra 17 Feb(brai)o 1726

... Il sig(nor) Bononcini ricorda a V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma il suo riverente rispetto, e la supplica della continuaz(ion)e del suo amore. Qui le opere vanno in perdiz(ion)e. I sig(no)ri Direttori hanno destinato che presto presto Mr. Hendel faccia un opera intanto che arrivi la Faustina unico refugio a cui si appoggia la loro speranza. Bononcino h fatto a quest'ora tre accademie dalla Duch(ess)a di Marlebough sua buona, e generosa Padrona, tutta roba nuova ma non gi di stil nuovo. La Cuzzoni, e Senesino cantano pur bene in q(ues)te accademie, ove l'Armonia, e l'espressione, la natura, e l'arte danno tanto piacere.

Supplico V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma del ricapito della inchiusa, e sono col solito inalterabile ossequio ...

The Academy is heading for perdition. The directors have resolved that Handel should quickly compose an opera for Faustina Bordoni, on whom they are pinning their hopes [she made her London debut on 5 May as Rossane in Alessandro]. Bononcini has put on three concerts for the Duchess of Marlborough - 'all new stuff, though not, admittedly, in a new style' ('tutta roba nuova ma non gia distil nuovo'). Cuzzoni and Senesino sing well in these concerts, in which 'harmony, expression, nature and art give so much pleasure'. [The three concerts mentioned relate, presumably, to the period of this letter rather than to the two years during which Bononcini had been in the duchess's service. Riva's comments on the performances suggest that he had been present. There is no indication that Bononcini had used Sorosina.]

14 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 148r-149r)

Londra 31 Di(cembr)e 1726

... Qui si stabilita un'accademia di Musica composta de' migliori compositori, e cantori Italiani ed inglesi. Io son stato accettato membro, ma senza voto, e come un gran dilettante, e meco tre altri soggetti di garbo, e di buon naso. Bononcino, et Handel sono accademici, ed i primi di questo nobile instituto. Si cantano madrigali, Antifone, Duetti, Salmi, e cose tutte dove campeggia l'armonia; Ieri fu cantato un Madrigale del Piva Gatano i Re dal soglio, e Bononcino p(er) fare onore aquel S. Agostino della Musica, com'egli lo chiama, cant la parte del Basso, e fu replicato tre volte; dopo se ne cantavono alcuni altri di Luca Marenzio, et uno di Bononcino, e si fini col sublime, e Divino Duetto Saldi Marmi&[.] Questa relazione non data da me a V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma senza il suo fine, che sinceram(en)te le scopro, ed di pregare umilm(en)te in nome di tutta la virtuosa accad(emi)a il sig(nor)e Piva a voler mandar qualche cosa di sua composiz(ion)e che sar conservata come una Reliquia colle altre cose rare nell'Archivio Musicale di cui custode il Pepu[s]ch, e seg(reta)rio il buono e studioso Mr. Galliard che le f riverenza insieme coll'antichissimo Tosi qui caduto dal Portogallo, che ieri fu ricevuto accademico. D'un altro favore debbo supplicare V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma; ed di mandarmi in picciolo disegno a acquarella o come meglio si potr il suo Ritratto. Non mi nieghi q(ues)to favore; che ne la prego quanto mai s e posso. Umilm(en)te mi confermo ...

[Riva's first letter to Steffani about the Academy of Vocal (later Ancient) Music, which dominates the remainder of their correspondence.(33)] The Academy was made up of 'the best composers and singers, Italian and English'. Riva was a kind of honorary member, 'without a vote, like a grand dilettante'; Bononcini was an active member,(34) but there is no evidence to support Riva's statement that Handel was a member at this stage. The repertory consisted essentially of unaccompanied vocal polyphony and 'all things in which harmony reigns supreme' ('madrigali, Antifone, Duetti, Salmi, e cose tutte dove campeggia l'armonia'). At the meeting of 30 December 1726 a madrigal by 'Piva' [Steffani], 'Gettano i re dal soglio', was sung three times, with Bononcini taking the bass;(35) the session continued with some madrigals by Marenzio and one by Bononcini, and finished with [Steffani's] 'divine' chamber duet 'Saldi marmi' for two sopranos and continuo(36) [an indication that the repertory was not entirely a cappella]. On behalf of the Academy, Riva then asks 'Piva' to send them something of his own composition for the archives; Pepusch was the custodian, and Galliard the secretary. Both sent kind regards, as did 'the extremely old' Tosi, who had just arrived from Portugal and joined the Academy.(37) Riva also asks Steffani to send him a small portrait of himself [again, clearly, for the benefit of the Academy].

15 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (f. 150r-v)

Londra 27 Marzo 1727

Dall'acclusa lettera consegnatami da due deputati di questa virtuosa Accademia di Musica, vedr V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma come il Sig(no)r Haym Seg(reta)rio di essa mi h dichiarato Abate. Transeat. Il foglio gent(ilissi)mo suo, e la maniera generosa, ed obbligante, colla quale si ella compiacciuta di spiegarsi verso questi Sig(no)ri h dato loro motivo di renderle grazie, e di supplicarla come vedr. Al sig(no)r Conte di Bothmer, o a chi V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma stimer pi a proposito spedisca qualche cosa dell'unico Pira, che sar posto come una rara gioia nel tesoro dell'Accademia, ed il nostro Bononcino, che le ricorda sempre il suo rispetto avr cura di esporla come si dee. Alla fine i Sig(no)ri Direttori dell'opera hanno dovuto lasciare il manipolo, ed hanno pregato la Duch(ess)a di Marlebough sua Padrona, ad ordinargliene una che ander in scena dopo Pasqua. Il libretto l'Andromaca, e si pianger con gusto, perche gli affetti saranno mossi con ragione.

Le due famose competitrici Cuzzoni, e Faustina dividono i sentimenti dell'Inghilterra, ma la prima colla sua bellissima voce, con una intuonaz(ion)e perletra e con un ottimo gusto entra a dirittura nel cuore, e l'altra con una maravigliosa facilit di eseguire solletica gli orecchi. L'antichissimo Tosi qui, e se le f sal(utazio)ni di(votissi)me.

Supplico V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma a far avere l'inchiusa a chi dritta ed a continuarmi l'onore della sua buona grazia. Sono col solito osseq(ui)o ...

[This is merely a brief covering letter for a longer one from Haym (letter 16, below).] Steffani had evidently shown interest in satisfying the Academy's desire for something of his composition, and they wished to thank him for his generous response. Riva suggests that 'the unique Piva' send his works to Count Bothmer [though there is no evidence that the latter was a member of the Academy].

Riva also comments on the state of the opera company. The directors of the Royal Academy have begged the Duchess of Marlborough to ask Bononcini to compose an opera for performance after Easter; the subject is to be Andromache [Astianatte, the only opera that Bononcini composed while in the service of the duchess, was first performed on 6 May.] Riva then claims that England is divided by Cuzzoni and Faustina: the former, with her most beautiful voice, perfect intonation and excellent taste, goes straight to the heart, while the latter tickles the ear with her marvellous facility of execution. [Riva's catalogue of Cuzzoni's vocal qualities accords with that of 'rare gifts' listed in his Avviso ai compositori, ed ai cantanti ('Bella voce, Ottimo Gusto, perfetta Intuonazione, o sia buon orecchio sono rari doni della Natura'),(38) and his characterization of Cuzzoni and Faustina also tallies with what is known of the 'famous competitors' from other sources.(39)]

The following appears to be the letter from Haym to Sateffani, referred to above:

16 Nicola Francesco Haym to Steffani in Hanover [(ff. 163r-164r)40] Londra Li 13 Feb(bra)ro 1726/7

Essendo stata benignamente, dall'Illus(trissi)mo Sig(no)re Abbate Riva, compartita alla nostra Assemblea di Musica, quella parte della sua lettera che ci riguarda, e letta, e considerata con aggradevole sorpresa, ci tenne longo tempo sospesi in considerando qual segno di ossequio, e di stima potesse compensare un cos immenso favore; ma trovandosi alla fine esser ci a noi impossibile, fu prima determinato, che con la presente a nome di tutti le si rendesse, i pi che dovuti ringraziamenti; e si propose poi di porre il suo celebratissimo Nome ne' nostri Registri, gi che parea nella sua, che ce ne desse mutualmente la permissione: Ma da alcuni fu prudentemente considerato, che ci non potea, ne dovea farsi senza particolar Licenza di V(ostra) S(ignoria) Illus(trissi)ma e Reverend(issi)ma - Avvalorati in appresso dal predetto Illus(trissi)mo Sig(no)re Abbate Riva, ci si far nella prossima adunanza, e sar materia di nuova gioja a' nostri Colleghi, che tanto sono anziosi di vedersi cos insignamente Onorati. - Intanto per darle materia di favorirci pi oltre, mi viene imposto, di parteciparle in breve, il cominciamento, e gli istituti di questa nostra Assemblea.

Vedendosi che la buona, e vera Musica, andava da per tutto deteriorando, si propose da alcuni di formare una Comitiva di Virtuosi Cantanti, e Compositori, i quali radunandosi ogni due settimane una volta, in luogo capace, per due ore continue vi s'impiegasse il tempo in Cantar Messe, Salmi, Mottetti, Madrigali, Canoni, ed altre cose studiate a 4, a 5, e pi parti, senza istromenti, e che ogni volta si terminasse quest'essercizio con un eccellentissimo Canone a 3 sul versetto del Salmo 113 Non nobis Domine non nobis, sed nomini tuo da Gloriam. A cos ben pensata Istituzione, concorsero subito le tre principali Cappelle di questa Dominante, cio la Regia, S. Paolo, e S. Pietro di Westminster; e si van cantando continuamente cose di Jusquino da Prato, Orlando di Lassus, Palestrina, Ferabosco, Luca Marenzio, Claudio Monteverde, Prencipe di Venosa, Foggia Vecchio, Carissimi, ed altri insigni Autori; ed il giorno di S(ant)a Cicilia, se ne celebra la resta con Istromenti, e maggior pompa del solito.

Non si ammette auditorio alcuno, se non i propri Accademici, mentre questo essercizio, si fa solamente per nostro studio, e diletto, e non per dar pascolo nojoso agli ignoranti.

Ora si st preparando a dar un nome, ed un impresa all'Accademia, la sussistenza della quale, a proprie spese degli Accademici.

Non si ha del Riveritissimo Sig(nor)e Piva altro che un madrigale a 5 Cadono i Re dal Soglio &c il quale non possiamo stancarci di ripeterlo, ed ammirarlo; onde qualunque cosa a pi parti, o con parole Latine, o Italiane, per senza stromenti, che questo Insigne Autore voglia favorirci, sar di sommo gradimento; e se si potr avere qualche Partitura immediatamente per la Posta, servir per ora ad appagare la grande avidit che abbiamo di udire qualcuna delle sublimi note del predetto Sig(no)re Piva; e con dovuto ossequio a nome di tutti Umiliandomi, Resto ... N. Haym Secretario della predetta Accad(e)mia

Haym, who has now taken over as secretary to the Academy of Vocal Music, states that the relevant portion of Steffani's letter has been read to the members by Riva (who was not, however, an 'abbate': see letter 15). Having thought carefully about how they might repay 'such an immense favour' [presumably a promise of music by 'Piva'], they had resolved to add his name to their register at their next meeting. Some had suggested that this could not be done without his express permission, but Riva had assured them that this would be forthcoming.

Haym then gives Steffani an account of the establishment of the Academy, which was prompted by a perceived deterioration in 'good and true' music. A number of singers and composers had formed a committee that met once a fortnight for two hours to sing unaccompanied vocal polyphony ('without instruments'), finishing with the canon 'Non nobis, Domine'.(41) They were soon joined by the choirs of the Chapel Royal, St Paul's Cathedral and 'St Peter's, Westminster', that is, Westminster Abbey. The repertory consisted of music by Josquin Desprez, Lassus, Palestrina, Ferrabosco, Marenzio, Monteverdi, Gesualdo, the elder Foggia, Carissimi and others. St Cecilia's Day was celebrated more elaborately, with instruments. No audience was admitted, other than members themselves, because the 'exercise' was intended only for study and pleasure. Consideration was now being given to a name and logo for the Academy, the expenses of which were borne by the members. The five-part madrigal '"Cadono" [Gettano] i re dal soglio' was the only music by 'Piva' in their possession; they never tired of singing it, and implored him to send them further settings of Latin or Italian texts without instruments [a specification that ruled out orchestral or obbligato accompaniment, but not necessarily continuo].

17 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 151r-152r)

[undated: London, before 10 July 1727]

Ne' grandi bisogni si ricorre a' Santi, che fanno Miracoli. Io sono nel caso, e per m'indirizzo a V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma. Il sig(no)r Giovachino Landi musico manufatto di ottima famiglia cittadinesca florentina, giovine abile, estudioso, non meno che savio, e civile desidera di stabilirsi in una delle Corti Elettorali Ecclesiastiche. Io che conosco il suo merito, e che so quanto ii Patrocinio di lei pu giovargli lo raccomando quanto mai s, e posso, e la supplico di favorirlo, come farebb'Ella un mio fratello med(esi)mo. Alle mie aggiungono le loro raccomandazioni, e preghiere il Sig(no)r Bononcino, ed il Sig(no)re Tosi, che conoscono l'abilit del Sig(no)r Landi anche nella composizione, e che non esce da' confini del solido, o del buon gusto nonostante la corruz(ion)e quasi generale. Egli fu condotto in Ispagna giovinetto da Napoli, ivi si fermato qualche tempo. A Parigi regolava l'accademia di Musica Italiana ivi stabilita, e che la gelosia franzese non h lasciato andar avanti. Venne in Inghilterra un anno f ed h avute alcune scolare nel canto, ma comecch'egli dabbene, ed il suo genio lo porta allo stato Ecclesiastico pensa di preferire ad ogn'altro vantaggio il servigio mentovato d'uno de' tre Elettori Arcivescovi, o di qualche altro Principe Ecclesiastico di Germania. V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma onori questo degno soggetto della sua Protezione, gli ottenga l'impiego, ch'egli desidera, e se ii mio testimonio pu valere qualche cosa presso di lei, sia pur persuasa, che ne avr dal Padrone che gli procurer, ottime relazioni, e ringraziamenti ancora.

Ho consegnata al s(igno)r Haym la risposta di V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma, ch' stata posta nelle memorie dell'Accademia, come una perla. Si figuri Ella poi cosa sar delle gioie che V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma promette di mandare. Il nostro s(igno)r Bononcini, che le rinuova gli atti del suo inalterabile ossequio avr cura, che sieno poste in quel lume che meritano per amirazione di chi s, e di chi desidera sapere. V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma mi onori della continuaz(ion)e del suo amore, e mi creda col solito rispetto ...

The first paragraph of this letter is a reference for the singer and composer Giovachino Landi, who was hoping for a post at one of the ecclesiastical courts of Germany, and a request that Steffani might support him with a recommendation. Further references from Bonincini and Tosi were enclosed. According to Riva, Landi came from a good Florentine family of citizen rank ('di ottima famiglia cittadinesca fiorentina') and was young, able, studious, wise and polite. He had been taken as a boy from Naples to Spain, where he had remained 'for some time', and had directed the Concert Italien in Paris.(42) He had been in England for a year and had had a few singing pupils there, but he now wished to move. [Riva's insistence on the word 'ecclesiastical' indicates that Landi was a Catholic (perhaps ill at ease in London) and explains why he is approaching Steffani. The latter had evidently replied to Haym (via Riva) about the Academy of Vocal Music.] The members looked forward with great anticipation to the 'gems' that he had promised to send, and Bononcini would take care to present them in the light they deserved.

18 John Ernest Galliard to Riva in London (ff. 155r-156r) Londres 7:me Juliet [juillet] 1727

Je ne saurois omettre de vous tmoigner la reconnoissence qui vous est de, de la part de tous les Membres de ntre Academie, pour avoir et la cause que le tres Reverend & tres Illustre, Monseig(neu)r L'Evque de Spiga s'est voulu mettre au nombre de nos Academiciens. Vous saves qu'a cette occasion on a, par marque de distinction, mis son nom a la tete de nos Registre[s] comme President, tant sensible que cela rependroit un Lustre sur tout le Corps, et parce qu'ils toient persuad que cela luy convenoit de droit, preferablement quelconque Personne vivante.

comme c'est aussi par vtre moyen que l'on a l'esperance de recevoir de tems en tems quelques une[s] des composition[s] excellente[s], de L'Illustre Gregorio Piva, et que pour vtre malheur, vous n'tiez pas a l'Academie lorsque son Motet dernierement resu fut execut, vous en aurez une petite relation, par laquelle, comme dans un[e] Ombre, vous entrevoirez des Beautez dont vous serez meilleur Juge quand vous l'entendrez.

Il est du Douzime Mode transpos. le sujet par ou il commence Elegant; & exprimant le[s] paroles devotement, et avec energie; le contresujet entrant dabord, continuant et se resserrant avec le renversement du sujet jusques a la fin. apres suit un Solo pour donner quelque repos, & pour reprendre le premier sujet, commenant par differentes parties pour plus de variet; Et par la mme raison que le Solo precedent y est mis, suit un Duo fort agreable pour introduire trois Voix qui sont suivi d'un sujet, & contresujet a 5 Voix, travaill avec beaucoup d'art, le tout fort Harmonieux, Pompeux, & Devot; ce qui est suivi d'un autre sujet plus Anim avec deux contresujets, dont un de ces sujets est a la fin renvers d'une manire non attendue. le dernier mouvement commence d'une manire singuliere par deux Voix, qui introduisent deux sujets qui se meslent ensemble, et pour couronner tout, il introduit fort artificieusement le sujet par lequel il a commenc le Motet, pendant qu'o[b]stinemment les autres continent les leurs avec b[e]aucoup de Vivacit; et il finit enfin, par le sujet tel qu'il se trouve au commencement, pour faire sentir la Devotion avec laquelle il a commenc.

Nos Academiciens ne peurent [purent] se satisfaire, quoy qu'il le repeterent par trois fois; et ils l'executerent des la premiere fois avec autant de Vivacit comme si ils l'avoient etudi; ce que je suis oblig de dire pour leurs [leur] rendre justice.

J'ay pass sous silence la beaut de l'expression des Parolles qui est si Naturelle a l'Auteur, & qu'on ne sqauroit decider si l'art est plus dans le choix du sujet, que dans l'assemblage. quiconque veut voir des choses de cette nature, il faut qu'il les aille chercher chez nos bons Anciens du 14 & 15:me siecle, ou l'Etude toit plus a la mode qu'apresent. que disje d'apresent? cela fait piti. mais aussi c'est la cause que dans ce tems la, et mme dans une petitte espace de tems, il se trouva une fourmillire de Grands Hommes, mme dans presque tout [tous] les pais de L'Europe, comme si un astre favorable ne regnoit alors qu'en faveur de ce bel art; au lieu qu'a present on n'a pas besoin de tout se doits [tous ses doigts] pour conter ceux qui ont droit d'tre mis en paralelle avec eux. il faut donc s'arrter a l'etude de ces anciens ci, car pour des Grecs, par malheur pour nous, il ne nous reste plus rien qui nous puisse convaincre de leur excellence, que par de fortes probabilitez, & qui ont tant d'effet sur moy, jusques a me persuader qu'ils entendoit [entendaient] l'Harmonie, dont nous autres Modemes ne leurs [leur] veullent pas faire concession. Il faut que je finisse, carje m'aperois qu'insensiblement je me mets en train de faire une Dissertation; permettez moy seulement de vous dire, que je suis avec profond Respect ...

[We may deduce from this letter that Galliard did not speak - or, more precisely, write - Italian.] He thanks Riva for causing Steffani to join the Academy and reminds him that, as a token of their gratitude, the members have placed the composer's name at the head of their register, as president. Since Riva was also the channel through whom they hoped to acquire further music by 'Piva', but had missed the meeting at which they had performed a motet by him, lately received ('dernierement rescu'), Galliard gives him a detailed account of the work in this letter [it clearly relates to Steffani's 'Qui diligit Mariam' (SSATB, continuo), which must have been composed for the Academy in 1726-7].

The motet is in the twelfth mode, transposed. The opening subject is elegant, and expresses the words with devotion and energy. The counter-subject enters immediately and is combined with the inversion of the subject to the end [of the first movement]. The ensuing solo leads back into the first subject, which is now treated differently. There follow a duo and a trio, and a subject and counter-subject treated skilfully in five parts - the whole being 'very harmonious, pompous and devout'. The next section is based on a more lively subject and two counter-subjects, one of which is inverted at the end in an unexpected manner. The last movement begins with two voices announcing a pair of complementary subjects, and to crown the whole the subject of the first movement is brought back against newer material in other voices. The motet ends with the opening subject in the form in which it had appeared at the outset.

Galliard goes on to say that the members of the Academy could not tire of this motet, even though they repeated it three times, and that they performed it from the first with as much spirit ('vivacita') as if they had learnt it. He also mentions the beautiful expression of the words, which is so natural to the composer that one cannot decide whether his art lies more in the choice of subject or in the assembly [i.e., composition, in the most literal sense of the word] of his material. Whoever would see more of such things must seek them in 'nos bons Anciens du 14 & 15:me siecle' [Galliard probably meant the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, for the Academy's repertory ranged from Josquin to Carissimi with special emphasis on the Renaissance (see letter 16)].

19 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (ff. 158r-159v) Londra 10 Lug(li)o 1727

Quando io sperava di avere il contento ancor quest'anno di revedere V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma, e che mi stava preparando per passare il fosso, la morte del nostro buon Re me ne toglie l'occasione, onde debbo far come posso per ricordarle il mio rispetto, e servirmi di questo mio foglio. La supplico di voler dunque scrivere la lett(er)a di raccomandaz(ion)e per il nostro buon S(igno)r Giovachino Landi, e spedirla a Brusselles con una sopra coperta a lui, che si trova col, e con altra a Mon(sieu)r le marquis Scaramuccia Visconti. II sig(no)r Sardi mi scrive d'aver ricevuto un pacchetto da V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma a me diretto, ed io a lui rispondo come melo dee mandare.

Quest'accademia di Musica h fatto pi volte cantare ii suo Divino motetto, avendone avuta la direzione il nostro s(igno)r Bononcino, che le f i suoi um(ilissi)mi complimenti. Aspettiamo altre cose dell'inimitabile Piva per poter con esse sostenere la cadente armonia. Intanto a pieni voti stata V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma eletta Presidente dell'accademia, e questi Sig(no)ri sperano, ch'Ella gradir la loro attenzione, e si contenter, che abbiano un tanto onore.

Le opere sono terminate quest'anno con un disordine, ch'era per necessario per togliere l'impostura che gi cominciava qui a prender troppo piede. I Partiti della Cuzzoni, e della Faustina si sono sfidati colla pericolosa pruova de' fischi, e degli applausi ogni uno per la loro. Quello della Faustina stato affatto battuto; e di pi alla Cuzzoni si fatta replicare l'ultima aria senza che il partito a lei contrario abbia osato di fischiare. L'opera era di Bononcino, onde l'una, e l'altra avevano armi eguali, e vigorose per abbattere la rivale. chi h saputo meglio maneggiarle h avuta la vittoria. I Direttori per che sono la maggior parte per la Faustina pensavano di distinggere le opere, ma i nuovi Regnanti, e la nazione nol vogliono permettere, e se la Faustina vorr andarsene le daranno ii buon viaggio. In caso che non vi fossero opere la Cuzzoni resta nonostante, essendosi impegnate alcune delle prime Dame di trattenerla qui colla med(esi)ma paga, che aveva dall'accademia. Era troppo dolorosa cosa a chi s, ed a chi h buon gusto di vedere, che quella, che stuona, h cativa voce, e non s, dovesse tener oppresa l'altra che ha una belliss(im)a voce, una perfetta intuonaz(ion)e, un esatto rigor di tempo, ed un ottimo gusto. Mi perdoni V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma se forse troppo l'h trattenuta con un racconto per lei di poco momento.

Mi onori della continuaz(ion)e del suo prezioso affetto, e mi creda con imutabile osseq(ui)o ...

If Riva hoped to see Steffani in Hanover in 1727, the death of George I [at Osnabrtick on 10 June] deprived him of the chance and forced him to make do with a letter. Riva repeats his request that Steffani write a reference for Giovachino Landi (see letter 17) and asks him to send one copy, with a covering letter, to him in Brussels, and another to Marquis Scaramuccia Visconti [the London representative of Malta in 1722-4 and of the emperor in 1727-8].(43) Signor Sardi has written to Riva informing him that he has received a packet for him from Steffani. The Academy has sung the latter's 'divine' motet many times, under the direction of Bononcini, and now awaits further music from 'the inimitable Piva'. Meanwhile, the members have unanimously elected him as their president.

Riva finishes his letter with a report on the opera company, whose season had finished in confusion. The supporters of Cuzzoni and Faustina had challenged each other in whistles and applause. Faustina's party had been thoroughly beaten; furthermore, Cuzzoni had been made to repeat her last aria without her opponents daring to whistle. The opera, by Bononcini, had given each singer equal weapons with which to beat her rival, and she who had deployed them to greater advantage had carried the day. The directors, who were mostly for Faustina, had thought of closing the company down, but neither the new rulers [George II and his court] nor the nation would allow it. If Faustina wished to leave, they would bid her farewell [she did not]. Even if there were no opera company, Cuzzoni would stay, for she had been retained by some of the first ladies [in the land] at the same salary as she had received from the Royal Academy. It had been extremely painful to see how one who had a most beautiful voice, perfect intonation, strict time ('un esatto rigor di tempo') and excellent taste could be so oppressed by the other, who sang out of tune and had a bad voice (without realizing it). [The rivalry between Faustina and Cuzzoni came to a head during a performance of Astianatte on 6 June 1727, when they exchanged blows on-stage. Riva clearly preferred Cuzzoni: to the list of her qualities given in letter 15 he now adds 'un esatto rigor di tempo', a phrase that recalls 'il Tempo esatto' in his Avviso.(44)]

20 Riva to Steffani in Hanover (f. 154r) Londra 25 Lug(li)o 1727

Dalla qui annessa lett(er)a del Sig(no)r Haym, e dall'altra che credo ben fatto di comunicare a V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma vedr Ella quanto questi Sig(no)ri si stimino onorati dall'aver messo in fronte della loro virtuosa accademia ii nome Suo venerabile, e quanta premura abbiano di ottenere altre cose rare dell'Unico Gregorio Piva. V(ostra) S(ignoria) Il(ustrissi)ma accolga con gradimento la loro attenzione, e consoli ii loro desiderio. Il nostro sig(no)r Bononcino le ricorda il suo rispetto, ed io col solito ossequio mi confermo ...

[A brief note from Riva to accompany a letter from Haym.] The members of the Academy of Vocal Music felt honoured to have Steffani as their president and were anxious to obtain further works by 'Gregorio Piva'. Riva urges Steffani to grant their request.

The following appears to be the letter from Haym to Steffani, referred to above:

21 Haym to Steffani in Hanover [(ff. 160r-161r)45] Londra Li 6 Luglio 1727

Gia prima di adesso doyevo farla partecipe, qualmente la Nostra Assamblea di Musica Vocale aveva unanimamente elette V(ostra) S(ignoria) Illus(trissi)ma e Rev(erendissi)ma per suo Presidente, e segnato ii suo Pregiatissimo Nome alla Testa de' Nostri Registri. Si [Ci] siamo serviti di questo Titolo, non avendone potuto trovare altro maggiore per onorar Noi medesimi, venerando Lei; ed ora La supplichiamo di accettarlo, non per ricompensa de' favori che Noi da Lei abbiam ricevuti, ma per aggiunger anche questo a quelli che si degnata benignamente di compartirci.

Dopo quel tempo, ci pervenne per mezzo dell'Illus(trissi)mo Sig(no)r Riva, il bellissimo Mottetto composto dal Famosissimo Sig(no)re Gregorio Pira, e da V(ostra) S(ignoria) Illus(trissi)ma e Reverend(issi)ma inviatoci; il quale fu cantato con grande attenzione pi volte, e sommamente ammirato, e gradito, e per esso gli si rendono infinite grazie.

La bellezza di detto Mottetto, unita alla sua artificiosissima Armonia, fa che cresca in noi il desiderio di vedere, e sentire quelli che ci ha in oltre promessi, e che con grande impazienza si attendono per goder di quel benificio, che Lei si complace di farne degni.

La Nostra Accademia stimasi fortunata di poter continuare ii suo Lodevole proponimento sotto la sua validissima Protezione, della quale siamo desiderosissimi; ed Io a nome di tutti mi sottoscrivo ... N: Haym Secretario della predetta Accad(e)mia[.]

[Haym's letter represents formal notification from the Academy that its members had unanimously elected Steffani as president.] They asked him to accept this title not as recompense for, but as an addition to, the favours that he had bestowed on them. Haym then thanks Steffani for the 'most beautiful motet composed by the most famous Gregorio Piva and sent to us by Your Most Illustrious and Reverend Lordship'; the beauty and harmony of this composition were making the Academy impatient to receive the other works that he had promised. ['Qui diligit Mariam' had evidently arrived some time after Steffani's election as president, and Haym carefully links Steffani's pseudonym only with his compositional activity.]

22 Riva to Steffani(46)

[16 September 1727]

... Ho consegnata a questo Sig(nor)e Haym la lettera di V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma, che sar registrata tra le cose notabili dell'Archivio dell'Accademia per un monumento glorioso d'essa, e per un contrassegno della di Lei bont e cortesia. Qui annessa trover Ella una lista delle cose, che si hanno del famoso Gregorio Piva, ondea Lei tocca di proccurare da questo S(an)t'Agostino [della] Musica quello che manca, e mandarlo. Fra altre mie [?vie] h supplicato V(ostra) S(ignoria) Ill(ustrissi)ma a favorirci di spedirmi ii Suo ritratto almeno in lapis, o sia matita rossa o nera che non importa, ne la supplico di nuovo instantissimam(en)te perche abbiamo una gran voglia di qui ayerlo. Bononcino le ricorda il Suo costante rispetto. Io sono con tutto l'ossequio ...

The list enclosed with the above letter reads as follows:

Liste des Compositions que nous avons de Gregorio Piva:

Le Discours, par lequel la Musique est prouv stre une Science.

Imprim en Italien, et en Al[l]emand avec des Nottes.

Les douze Mottetts, comme dans cette liste.

1. Reginam nostram, Rec:t Eia omnes Festinem[us], a3

2. Qui pacem amatis, a3

3. Felices adae Filii, a3

4. Sonitus armorum, a3

5. Flores agri, a3

6. Tandem adest; Solo. Eia Populi, a3

7. Venite exultemus, a3

8. Videte gentes, Rec:t Pro Christo affligemur, a3

9. Cingete floribus, a3

10. Surge propera Veni, a3

11. Elevamini, a3

12. Fuge cara anima, a3

Deux Madrigaux. Gettano i Re dal Soglio. a5. & Al Rigor d'un bel Sembiante a3. intitul La Spagnola.

Bon Nombre de Duetti, particulierement les deux livres, fait[s] au retour de ses ambassades, dont il se trouve dans l'un Saldi Marmi, & dans l'autre, E cosi mi compatite. Tous ceux qui ont ete fait[s] depuis, nous ne les avons pas; particulierement un, ou il y a ces parolles Vesrito Bruno.

N. B. Vous scavez que la plus part du tems nous executons dans ntre Academie des Motets et des Madrigaux a5 & a6.

Riva has given Haym a letter from Steffani to be kept in the Academy archives as a 'glorious monument' and as a sign of the composer's goodwill and courtesy. He encloses a list of the music by 'Piva' in the Academy's possession, and asks him to send copies of anything that is missing. Finally, he reminds him that he has already asked him to send a portrait, at least in pencil or in red or black crayon; he repeats this request most urgently ('instantissimam(en)te') because the Academy earnestly desires to have one.

[The list reveals that by mid September 1727 the Academy possessed a surprisingly large number of Steffani's works. The 'discours' is his treatise Quanta certezza habbia da suoi principii la musica (Amsterdam, 1695), with its translation by Andreas Werckmeister, Send-Schreiben, darinnen enthalten, wie grosse Gewissheit die Music aus ihren Principiis und Grund-Satzen habe ... mit einigen Anmerckungen erlautert (Quedlinburg & Aschersleben, 1699). The 'douze Mottetts' are the contents of his Sacer Ianus quadrifons (Munich, 1685), of which the Academy had a manuscript copy (possibly London, Royal College of Music, MS 1023). Like 'Gettano i re dal soglio' (see letter 14), the madrigal 'Al rigor d'un bel sembiante' may have been composed expressly for the Academy: the two pieces appear together in a number of manuscripts. The two books of duets cannot be identified, but the words 'fait[s] au retour de ses ambassades' probably refer to manuscripts of revised versions of his duets that Steffani copied or prepared in Hanover in the winter and spring of 1702-3, after a period of exceptionally intense diplomatic activity.(47) 'Saldi marmi' and 'E cosi mi compatite' are certainly by him; the words 'vestito bruno' are not to be found in any of his surviving chamber duets but could possibly be a corruption of 'vestite a duolo' at the end of 'Occhi belli, non piu'.(48) The academy continued to acquire music by Steffani after this list had been compiled.(49)]

1 The fundamental secondary sources of information on Riva are: Sesto Fassini, Il melodramma italiano a Londra nella prima meta del Settecento, Turin, 1914; Giulio Bertoni, 'Giuseppe Riva e l'opera italiana a Londra', Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, lxxxix (1927), 317-24; and Gino Roncaglia, 'Ludovico Antonio Muratori, la musica e il maggior compositore modenese del suo tempo', Atti e memorie delle RR. Deputazioni di storia patria per le provincie modenesi e parmensi, 7th set., viii (1933), 227-318.

2 See George E. Dorris, Paolo Rolli and the Italian Circle in London 1715-44, The Hague, 1967, esp. pp. 206-8, and Francesco Degrada, 'Giuseppe Riva e il suo "Avviso ai compositori ed ai cantanti" ', Analecta musicologica, iv (1967), 112-23.

3 On 30 November 1719 the directors resolved 'That Mr Heidegger be also desir'd to speak to Seign.r Riva to write to Seign.r Senezino to engage him to be here in October next': Otto Erich Deutsch, Handel: a Documentary Biography, London, 1955, p. 97; Handel-Handbuch, iv: Dokumente zu Leben und Schaffen ..., Kassel, 1985, p. 85. Six months earlier, on 14 May 1719, the Duke of Newcastle had ordered 'that Mr Handel engage Senezino as soon as possible to Serve the said Company [the Royal Academy of Music] and for as many Years as may be' (Deutsch, Handel, p. 90; Handel-Handbuch, iv. 81). It may be that Handel was responsible for recruiting Senesino to the company, and Riva for proceeding to an agreement in writing.

4 Elizabeth Gibson, The Royal Academy of Music 1719-1728: the Institution and its Directors, New York, 1989, p. 274.

5 Eleven letters from Rolli to Riva are published in Handel-Handbuch, iv, and in English translation in Deutsch, Handel. Four more letters from Rolli to Riva appear in Lowell Lindgren, 'Musicians and Librettists in the Correspondence of Gio. Giacomo Zamboni (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MSS Rawlinson Letters 116-138)', R. M. A. Research Chronicle, xxiv (1991) [whole vol.].

Most of Riva's letters are in Modena, Biblioteca Estense, Archivio muratoriano and Fondo Campori. Campori [Gamma]. Z. 4, 3-4, contains 300 letters from the period c. 1720-40 (see Pio Lodi, Catalogo dei codici e degli autografi posseduti dal Marchese Giuseppe Campori, Modena, 1875-84, items 1643-4), while Campori [Gamma]. W. 3, 6, consists of 55 letters in cipher dated from 1708 to 1723 (see Raimondo Vandini, Appendice prima al Catalogo dei codici e degli autografi ..., Modena, 1886, item 1021). Extracts from Riva's correspondence with Muratori were published in Ercole Sola, 'Curiosita storico-artistico-letterarie tratte dal carteggio dell'inviato estense Giuseppe Riva con Lodovico Antonio Muratori', Attie memorie delle RR. Deputazioni di storia patria per le provincie modenesi e parmensi, 3rd sen, iv (1886), 197-392, and in 12. Frati, Pietro Metastasio e Ludovico Antonio Muratori. Appunti da un carteggio muratoriano inedito della Collezione Campori, Bologna, 1893. Muratori's letters to Riva appeared in his Epistolario, ed. Matteo Campori, Modena, 1901-11, vols. iii, v-viii.

6 See Lindgren, 'Musicians and Librettists'.

7 R.A. Streatfeild, 'Handel, Rolli, and Italian Opera in London in the Eighteenth Century', The Musical Quarterly, iii (1917), 428-45, at p. 433; Deutsch, Handel, pp. 185-6; Handel-Handbuch, iv. 135-6.

8 Her two letters are printed in Handel-Handbuch, iv. 112-15, in Winton Dean & John Merrill Knapp, Handel's Operas 1704-1726, Oxford, 1987, p. 435, and in C. Steven LaRue, Handel and his Singers: the Creation of the Royal Academy Operas, 1720-1728, Oxford, 1995, pp. 125-6. Though undated, the letters clearly relate to the 1722/3 season; Dean and Knapp place them in the autumn of 1722.

9 "See Lowell Lindgren, 'Parisian Patronage of Performers from the Royal Academy of Musick (1719-28)', Music & Letters, lviii (1977), 4-28.

10 The Italian version is reprinted in Degrada, 'Giuseppe Riva', pp. 119-22.

11 Lindgren, 'Musicians and Librettists', p. 2.

12 The letters of Haym and Galliard are included as items 16, 18 and 21 in the present article. The other 'non-Riva/Steffani' letters are as follows: f. 18: 'L'abbe de St. Agnes' to Riva, Brussels, 11 February 1721; f. 98: Count Starhemberg to Steffani, 'Schzzalbach', 20 June 1722; f. 111: Abbate [Giuseppe] Spinelli, Internuncio in Brussels, to the 'Marchese di Cortance', [copy] dated London, 28 May 1723; f. 162: 'L'abbe de St. Agnes' to Steffani, Brussels, 23 May 1721.

13 I am grateful to the authorities of the Niedersachsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv for enabling me to consult the whole of Cal. Br. 23c and publish these extracts, and especially to Dr Christoph Gieschen for his kind assistance during my visit to Pattensen; to Professor Michael Caesar (Department of Italian Studies) and Professor Dennis Wood (Department of French Studies) and other colleagues at the University of Birmingham (Faculty of Arts) for assistance in deciphering or interpreting Riva's letters; to Professor Donald Burrows (Open University) for helpful comments and advice on this article; and to the British Academy for the Small Personal Research Grant that enabled me to undertake the research on which this article is based.

14 Especially the following by Lowell Lindgren: 'Ariosti's London Years, 1716-29', Music & Letters, lxii (1981), 331-51; 'Nicola Cosimi in London, 1701-1705', Studi musicali, xi (1982), 229-48; 'La carriera di Gaetano Berenstadt, contralto evirato (c1690-1735)', Rivista italiana di musicologia, xix (1984), 36-112; 'The Accomplishments of the Learned and Ingenious Nicola Francesco Haym (1678-1729)', Studi musicali, xvi (1987), 247-380; and 'Musicians and Librettists' (see n. 5, above).

15 See, for example, Colin Timms, 'Steffani's Solo Cantatas', 'Con che soavita': Studies in Italian Opera, Song, and Dance, 1580-1740, ed. Iain Fenlon & Tim Carter, Oxford, 1995, pp. 200-201.

16 Pier Francesco Tosi, Opinioni de' canton' antichi, e moderni, o sieno Osservazioni sopra il canto figurato, Bologna, 1723; Eng. trans. by John Ernest Galliard as Observations on the Florid Song; or Sentiments on the Ancient and Modern Singers, London, 1742.

17 Giuseppe Riva, Advice to the Composers and Performers of Vocal Musick, London, 1727 (Avviso ai compositori, ed ai cantanti, London, 1728); see n. 2, above.

18 See Colin Timms, 'Gregorio Piva and Steffani's Principal Copyist', Source Materials and the Interpretation of Music: a Memorial Volume to Thurston Dart, ed. Ian Bent, London, 1981, pp. 169-90.

19 Denkmaler rheinischer Musik, viii (Dusseldorf, 1958).

20 See Michael F. Feldkamp, 'Der Nachlass des Komponisten, Diplomaten und Bischofs Agostino Steffani (1654-1728) im Archiv der Propaganda Fide', Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken, lxxii (1992), 230-313, at pp. 299 & 309.

21 See Deutsch, Handel, pp. 28-9, 65, 96; Handel-Handbuch, iv. 45-6, 84; and Ragnhild Hatton, George I, Elector and King, London, 1978.

22 See Lowell Lindgren, 'Parisian Patronage', p. 13.

23 See Deutsch, Handel, pp. 100-101; Handel-Handbuch, iv. 87.

24 The aria is not to be found in the index of Bononcini's arias in Lowell Lindgren, A Bibliographic Scrutiny of Dramatic Works Set by Giovanni and his Brother Antonio Maria Bononcini (unpublished dissertation), Harvard University, 1972.

25 Dean & Knapp, Handel's Operas, p. 310.

26 Ibid., p. 306.

27 Feldkamp, 'Der Nachlass', p. 306.

28 Steffani's letters to this Marquis de Nomis are preserved in Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, Beverinische Bibliothek, Abt. C. VI, Nr. 1462.

29 Her father, Giuseppe Sorosina, was George I's agent in Venice in the 1720s: see Colin Timms, 'George I's Venetian Palace and Theatre Boxes in the 1720s', Music and Theatre: Essays in Honour of Winton Dean, ed. Nigel Fortune, Cambridge, 1987, pp. 95-130.

30 In, for example, Dean & Knapp, Handel's Operas, p. 503.

31 See Gibson, The Royal Academy of Music 1719-1728, pp. 33-4, 346-7.

32 Source: Rome, Archirio Storico della Sacra Congregazione per l'Evangelizzazione dei Popoli (formerly de Propaganda Fide), Fondo Spiga, lxxix (formerly lxxx). 210-13; published in Timms, 'George I's Venetian Palace', pp. 129-30.

33 Part of this letter appears in German translation in Franz Wilhelm Woker, 'Der Tondichter Agostino Steffani, Bischof von Spiga i. p. i. und Apostolischer Vicar von Norddeutschland (1655-1728)', Der Katholik, [xvii (1887), 312-432, at pp. 422-3. The outlines of Steffani's association with the Academy, based largely on the original minute-book (London, British Library, Add. MS 11732), are sketched in Colin Timms, 'Steffani and the Academy of Ancient Music', The Musical Times, cxix (1978), 127-30.

34 See Lowell Lindgren, 'The Three Great Noises "Fatal to the Interests of Bononcini"', The Musical Quarterly, lxi (1975), 560-83, esp. pp. 564-7.

35 The words 'del Piva' are written over what appears to have started as 'di V S []', suggesting that Riva momentarily forgot to use Steffani's pseudonym. Given the nature and date of the present letter, the madrigal 'Gettano i re dal soglio' (SSATB; ed. Colin Timms, London, 1978 = Musical Times suppl. (see article cited in n. 33, above)), which had been 'Sent to our Academy at ye Crown Tavern 1726' (Durham Cathedral Library MS E. 15), must have been solicited by somebody other than Riva; this person may have been Bononcini, who had performed Steffani duets with Ariosti for Queen Sophie Charlotte in Berlin in 1702 (see Briefe der Konigin Sophie Charlotte yon Preussen und der Kurfurstin Sophie yon Hannover an hannoversche Diplomaten, ed. Richard Doebner ('Publikationen aus den Koniglichen Preussischen Staatsarchiven', lxxix), Leipzig, 1905, pp. 78-9), or, more likely, 'the good and studious Mr Galliard', who had been a pupil of Steffani at Hanover.

36 See Agostino Steffani, Twelve Chamber Duets, ed. Colin Timms ('Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era', liii), Madison, 1987, pp. 51-66.

37 Pier Francesco Tosi, who was well over 70, enrolled in the Academy on 3 November 1726: British Library Add. MS 11732, f. 3(v).

38 See Degrada, 'Giuseppe Riva', p. 121.

39 See, for example, Winton Dean, 'Bordoni, Faustina' and 'Cuzzoni, Francesca', in The New Grove, and LaRue, Handel and his Singers, pp. 144-81.

40 This letter appears in part (and in German) in Woker, 'Der Tondichter Agostino Steffani', p. 423, where the date is incorrectly given as 3 February, and complete (and in Italian) in Lowell Lindgren, 'The Accomplishments of ... Haym (1678-1729)', pp. 280-81.

41 In 1730 Pepusch attributed this canon to Byrd: see Philip Brett, 'Did Byrd Write "Non nobis, Domine"?', The Musical Times, cxiii (1972), 857.

42 Cf. Lindgren, 'Parisian Patronage', pp. 24-5.

43 See Lindgren, 'Musicians and Librettists', p, 45. In 1721 Visconti appeared for the king when the latter stood godfather to Durastanti's daughter (Deutsch, Handel, p. 123; Handel-Handbuch, iv. 98), and on 24 April/5 May 1723 he, Riva and Gaetano Berenstadt dined with the Duchess of Shrewsbury (Lowell Lindgren, 'La carriera di Gaetano Berenstadt', p. 60), who was Visconti's aunt.

44 See Degrada, 'Giuseppe Riva', p. 121.

45 This letter appears in full and in Italian in Lindgren, 'The Accomplishments of ... Haym (1678-1729)', pp. 281-2.

46 Source: Rome, Archirio Storico della Sacra Congregazione per l'Evangelizzazione dei Popoil, Fondo Spiga, xvi (formerly lxii); published in Josef Loschelder, 'Aus Dusseldorfs italienischer Zeit: Romische Quellen zu Agostino Steffanis Leben', Beitrage zur rheinischen Musikgeschichte, i (1952), 17-53, at pp. 46-8. Loschelder tentatively attributes the letter to Needler, but the language and handwriting are Riva's. The list, in French, may have been compiled by Galliard (cf. letter 18); the absence of 'Qui diligit Mariam', which had been performed at the Academy by 7 July 1727 (letter 18), suggests that the list was drawn up before this motel had arrived.

47 Cf. Colin Timms, 'Gregorio Piva and Steffani's Principal Copyist'.

48 For all three duets, see Steffani, Twelve Chamber Duets, ed. Timms.

49 See Timms, 'Steffani and the Academy', pp. 129-30, although the four-part madrigal 'Se gia t'amai' is not by Steffani but by Galeazzo Sabbatini (it was published in his Secondo libro di madrigali concertati ... Op. 2, Venice, 1626).
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