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Spanish Imperial Court music manuscripts found in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice.

Venezia. Biblioteca Marciana. Anna Claut recent studies proved that a group of 75 music manuscripts preserved in the Marciana Library comes from the Spanish Imperial Court. The collection includes 15 manuscripts known as the Venice series of the Scarlatti's Sonatas; the Sonatas by Sebastiano de Albero; the Scarlatti's 'Serenata a quattro voci; works by David Perez, Tommaso Traetta, Leonardo Vinci, Pasquale Cafaro, Leonardo Leo, and Johann Adolf Hasse are preserved in other 40 manuscripts.

The Marciana collection is quite completely digitized, by the Library's project ADM (Digital Archive of Music) funded by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (MiBAC), and is published at /SebinaOpac/Opac and on Cultural Internet.

The Spanish provenance was identified by comparing numbers etched in gold on the spine of some Marciana music codices--which were noticed for the first time on the spine of the Domenico Scarlatti's Sonatas manuscripts--with Farinelli's testament papers published in Sandro Cappelletto's La voce perduta. Vita di Farinelli evirato cantore (The lost voice. Life of Farinelli, the Castrato Singer).

Among those papers, the Legal Inventory of May 2nd, 1783 (thus after Farinelli's death) is to be found and reads: <<'This is my Will--D. Carlo Broschi' Farinelli. Description of the Musical Works by HCM the Queen of Spain, which must all be kept as it is, and for this reason no Legal Evaluation has been carried out>>. The mentioned Queen is Maria Barbara of Braganza, daughter of King John V of Portugal and Mary Ann of Habsburg, Archduchess of Austria, wife of King Ferdinand VI of Spain. Numbers are written near the titles of the works listed in the will and some of them correspond to the golden-etched number on the spine of each relevant Marciana codex.

Even if Farinelli's will says that all the works bequeathed to him by Queen Maria Barbara should be "kept together as main and essential part of his fiduciary bond", Matteo Pisani, Farinelli's nephew who inherited the lot, taking advantage from new legal rules, did not observe Farinelli's will. Almost all manuscripts were then purchased by the Marciana Library in 1835, from the heirs of the 'Contarini di San Beneto' (San Beneto is a parish in Venice); others were acquired in 1890, 'with the Library's money', as noted in the Marciana Appendix Inventory of Italian manuscripts, classes IV and V.

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Author:Claut, Anna
Publication:Fontes Artis Musicae
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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