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Music publishing in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Umbria*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2008

Nicoletta Guidobaldi
University of Bologna


Only in the last few years has detailed research into Umbrian music, particularly that of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, begun to appear, and until now there has been no study devoted entirely to music publishing in the region. At present we know of thirty-two books of music printed at Perugia, Assisi and Orvieto between 1577 and 1650, but there may well have been more. Since some are known only indirectly, from vague references found in intermediate sources, it is reasonable to assume that other books have been lost without trace. Our knowledge of the publishers of this music is fragmentary and incomplete, and the same often applies to the various composers, so that the historian is confronted with a picture rendered unusually indistinct by absences and losses. However, such information as we do possess, together with the surviving printed material, offers valuable evidence for the composition and circulation of music in the towns of Umbria during this period.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1988

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1 On Umbrian music in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see Arte e musica in Umbria fra Cinque e Seicento: Atti del XII Convegno di studi umbri, Gubbio–Gualdo Tadino, 30 November– 2 December 1979 (Perugia, 1981)Google Scholar, especially Balsano, M., Brumana, B. and Pascale, M., ‘Bibliografia dei musicisti umbri’, pp. 439–75. Several articles on Umbrian composers and musical institutions have appeared in the annual review Esercizi: Arte musica spettacolo (19791986)Google Scholar.

2 Nearly all records of printing-houses and catalogues of published books, music books in particular, consist largely of lists of volumes which are no longer extant; see, for example, Larson, K. and Pompilio, A., ‘Cronologia delle edizioni musicali napoletane del CinqueSeicento’, Musica e cultura a Napoli dal XV al XIX secolo, ed. Bianconi, L. and Bossa, R. (Florence, 1983), pp. 103–39Google Scholar. Reflections on the widespread dispersal of collections of books during the period can be found in Quondam, A., ‘“Mercanzia d'onore mercanzia d'utile”: Produzione libraria e lavoro intellettuale a Venezia nel Cinquecento’, Libri editori e pubblico nell'Europa moderna, ed. Petrucci, A. (Rome and Bari, 1977), pp. 53104Google Scholar.

3 On the condition of Umbria in the seventeenth century, see Caracciolo, A., ‘Le grandi tappe del rapporto con altri territori e regioni’, Orientamenti di una regione attraverso i secoli: Atti del X Convegno di studi umbri, Gubbio, 23–6 May 1976 (Perugia, 1978), pp. 165–76Google Scholar; and A. Bartoli Langeli, ‘L'organizzazione territoriale della Chiesa nell'Umbria’, ibid., pp. 411–41. On relations between individual towns and central power, see R. Paci, ‘La ricomposizione sotto la Santa Sede: offuscamento e marginalità della funzione storica dell'Umbria pontificia’, ibid., pp. 207–25.

4 At the close of the seventeenth century and in the early years of the eighteenth, a general revival of cultural and musical activity took place in Umbria, with a corresponding effect on local publishing: see Vispi, M., Annali tipografici eugubini (Città di Castello, 1974)Google Scholar. But this eighteenth-century activity is characterised by its municipal, even parochial tone, and forms the culmination of the marginalising process begun a century earlier.

5 Seventeenth-century Umbrian painting shows notable signs of originality; see Casale, V., Falcidia, G., Pansecchi, F. and Toscano, B., Ricerche in Umbria, i (Treviso, 1976)Google Scholar.

6 As early as the mid-sixteenth century, Rome was exerting a powerful cultural sway over Umbria; consider the mass migration of singers from Todi, Gubbio, Foligno, Perugia and Assisi towards the Roman cappelle. See Rostirolla, G., ‘Musicisti umbri nella Cappella Giulia’, Arte e musica, pp. 115–47Google Scholar. On the presence of Umbrian sopranos in the choir of the Sistine Chapel, see B. Antolini, ‘Il cantore perugino Girolamo Rosini’, ibid., pp. 357–66 (p.359).

7 The essential features of Italian music publishing in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have recently been outlined by Pompilio, A., ‘Editoria musicale a Napoli e in Italia nel Cinque-Seicento’, Musica e cultura a Napoli, pp. 79102Google Scholar. For an overview of seventeenth-century publishing and related problems, see Bianconi, L., Il Seicento, Storia della Musica, iv (Turin, 1982), pp. 7582Google Scholar; Eng. trans. by Bryant, D., Music in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge, 1987)Google Scholar.

8 Pompilio, ‘Editoria musicale’, pp. 86–7, records, in percentage form, the expansion of the Roman market in comparison with that of Italy as a whole. Between 1580 and 1610, Rome supplied 5–7% of total national output, but this had increased to 10% by 1615, and reached 20% in 1620.

9 Biographical data on Umbrian musicians active elsewhere in Italy are based on Balsano et al., ‘Bibliografia dei musicisti umbri’.

10 See the list of Perugian editions on pp. 31–2.

11 On the origins of printing at Perugia, see Vermiglioli, G. B., Principi della stampa a Perugia e suoi progressi (Perugia, 1820)Google Scholar, and Della tipografia perugina del secolo XV (Perugia, 1800)Google Scholar. For general information about its history, see Brizi, A., Annali tipografici di Perugia (Bologna, 1888)Google Scholar. A more detailed description of the development of Perugian printing may be found in a work which remained unfinished, and is preserved in manuscript in the Biblioteca Augusta at Perugia: Brizi, A., Annali tipografici perugini (MS 15581559)Google Scholar. Some very general observations on sixteenth-century printing at Perugia appear in Ascarelli, F., La tipografia cinquecentina italiana (Florence, 1953)Google Scholar.

12 We know of only one other printer working at Perugia in the late sixteenth century who took any interest in music: P. P. Orlando, who in 1589 published Prospero Lutio's dancing manual, Opera bellissima nella quale si contengono molte partite, et passeggi di gagliarda con la quale ciascuno in breve tempo potrà facilmente imparare di ballare.

13 The basic facts about Petrucci's career are collected in Cecchini, G., Mostra dell'arte della stampa umbra (Perugia, 1943)Google Scholar, which is the only printed catalogue of the earliest stages of Perugian publishing.

14 Petrucci's non-musical editions, all in the collection of the Biblioteca Augusta at Perugia, are Buovo d'Antona delle gran battaglie e fatti che lui fece… (1578); Vives, G. Lodovico, Exercitatio linguae latinae (1578)Google Scholar; Tinnoli, Giovanni, Compendiaria argumentandi methodus (1584)Google Scholar; Lancellotti, G. Paolo, Regularum ex universo pontificio iure excerptarum (1587)Google Scholar; [Massini, Filippo], Lettioni dell'Estatico Insensato (1588)Google Scholar; and Leonelli, G. Battista, Tractatus de praecedentia hominis (1601)Google Scholar.

15 Numbers in square brackets refer to the editions listed in the Appendix, pp. 30–6.

16 See Bridges, T. W., ‘The Publishing of Arcadelt's First Book of Madrigals’ (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1982)Google Scholar.

17 Vicomanni worked in the cappella of Fermo Cathedral from 1590 to 1596, and was maestro di cappella at San Rufino, the cathedral of Assisi, in 1602. See Virgili, L., ‘La cappella musicale della chiesa metropolitana di Fermo’, Note d'Archivio per la Storia Musicale, 7, (1930) p. 1086Google Scholar; Brumana, B., ‘Assisi’, Dizionario enciclopedico universale della musica e dei musicisti, i (Turin, 1983), pp. 198–9Google Scholar.

18 On the musical atmosphere of Perugia, see Brumana, B., ‘Costruttori di strumenti a Perugia’, Arte e musica, pp. 341–50Google Scholar; M. Pascale, ‘Vincenzo Cossa e l'ambiente musicale perugino’, ibid., pp. 159–99.

19 See Crispolti, G. Battista, Cronaca di Perugia dall'anno 1578 al 1586, in Fabretti, A., Cronache di Perugia, 4 vols., iv (1880), pp. 3141 (pp. 44, 50)Google Scholar. Much information, often very detailed, can be gleaned from the Memorie di Perugia of R. Franchi and V. Fedeli, collected and published by Fabretti.

20 On the Perugian academies in general, see Maylender, M., Storia delle accademie d'Italia, 5 vols. (Bologna, 19261930), iii, p. 306; v, p. 394Google Scholar. On the Unisoni, see Atlas, A. W., ‘The Accademia degli Unisoni: A Music Academy in Renaissance Perugia’, A Musical Offering: Essays in Honor of Martin Bernstein, ed. Clinkscale, E. H. and Brook, C. (New York, 1977), pp. 523Google Scholar: and Pascale, ‘Vincenzo Cossa’, pp. 169–74.

21 Sozi, R.. Annali, ricordi e memorie, Perugia, Biblioteca Augusta, MS 1221, ff. 30–1. This text, which is the principal source of our knowledge of the Unisoni, is transcribed by Atlas as an appendix to his article cited above (pp. 1718)Google Scholar.

22 In his Cronaca di Perugia, G. B. Crispolti describes various parties and entertainments at which he was present. He writes of a party held for the wedding of some friends of his: ‘Tarquinio Perinelli came in as Hymenaeus, god of marriages, with nymphs and shepherds to the number of sixty, and they recited poems in honour of the bride and scattered pretty flowers on all sides, so that the bride was almost covered in them; and we sang her praises in music … The wedding breakfast was delightful … nor did the trumpeters fail to entertain us at the windows of the palace and at home’ (pp. 118–19).

23 The two quotations are from the Leggi degli Accademici Unisoni. Perugia, Biblioteca Augusta, MS 985, ff. 302 and 303, transcribed by Pascale, ‘Vincenzo Cossa’, p. 194.

24 Vincenzo Cossa published Il primo libro de madrigali a quatro voci at Venice in 1569 (A. Gardano being the printer), and Il primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci there in 1587 (R. Amadino). He was a member of the Unisoni; but other Perugian composers also published collections of madrigals in these years, or had their work included in collective volumes, most of which appeared at Venice; see Balsano, Brumana and Pascale, ‘Bibliografia’.

25 It is interesting to note that even the two academies' heraldic devices are very similar: that of the Insensati shows a flock of cranes in flight, that of the Unisoni a flock of swans. See Bargagli, S., Dell'imprese (Venice, 1594), p. 215Google Scholar; Crispolti, C., Perusia Augusta (Perugia, 1648), p. 51Google Scholar.

26 Crispolti, , Perusia Augusta, p. 50Google Scholar. The meetings of the academies in Crispolti's home are also mentioned by Ripa, Cesare, Nuova iconologia ampliata (Padua, 1618), p. 418Google Scholar, in a discussion of poetry: ‘Signor Cesare Crispolti, a gentleman of rare learning in many fields, in whose house the academicians of the Insensati gather as the followers of Plato once did in the Academy.’

27 Sozi, Annali. This manuscript contains the earliest information on the origins and organisation of the Accademia degli Unisoni, and records the names of its five founding members: Pietro Baldeschi (‘Sordiccio’), Angelo degli Oddi (‘Dissono’), Raffaele Sozi (‘Aspro’), Alessandro Alessi (‘Roco’) and Pietro Paolo Canale (‘L'Eco’).

28 These three books are summarily described by Cecchini, , Mostra, p. 90Google Scholar: they are Tartaglia, P., Notomia spirituale dell'homo (1647)Google Scholar; Genault, G. F., L'uso delle passioni portato dalla lingua francese nell'italiana da Polibio Tigrane (1661)Google Scholar; Paciuchelli, A. F., Trattato della passione di nostro Signore Gesù Cristo (1662)Google Scholar.

29 Rossi, L., Sistema musico overo musica speculativa dove si spiegano i più celebri sistemi di tutti e tre i generi (Perugia, 1666)Google Scholar; Bontempi, G. A. Angelini, Historia musica nella quale si ha piena cognitione della teorica e della pratica antica della musica harmonica (Perugia, 1695)Google Scholar.

30 See the list of his editions on pp. 32–3. The basic facts of Salvi's biography and a brief description of some of his work can be found in Morotti, F., Tipografia ed editoria in Umbria: Assisi (Perugia, 1966), p. xiiGoogle Scholar.

31 On editorial choice in early seventeenth-century Italy, see Pompilio, ‘Editoria musicale’, p. 84.

32 On the Church's role in publishing, see Rotondò, A., ‘La censura ecclesiastica e la cultura’, Storia d'Italia (Turin, 1973), v, pp. 13991492Google Scholar; Grendler, P. F., The Roman Inquisition and the Venetian Press 1540–1605 (Princeton, 1977)Google Scholar.

33 See Brumana, , ‘Assisi’. On the cappelle of San Francesco and San RufinoGoogle Scholar, see Sartori, C., Assisi, la cappella della basilica di San Francesco: Catalogo del fondo musicale della Biblioteca Comunale di Assisi (Milan, 1962)Google Scholar; Varotti, A., La cappella musicale di San Rufino in Assisi: contributo per una storia (Assisi, 1967)Google Scholar.

34 G. Battista Bovicelli, a native of Assisi, is recorded among the singers of the Cappella Giulia in 1578–1579 and 1581: see Rostirolla, ‘Musicisti umbri’, p. 140. On his work at San Rufino, see Varotti, op. cit.

35 See Varotti, A., La cappella musicale dl San Rufino in Assisi (Assisi, 1977)Google Scholar.

36 Some information on Perconti appears in Stella, D., ‘Serie dei maestri di cappella minori conventuali di San Francesco’, Miscellanea Francescana, 21 (19211922), pp. 122–41 (p. 123)Google Scholar. See also Pancrazi, F. Scarpellini, Fra Antonio Perconti, minore conventuale, Magister musices, Quaderni del Conservatorio, 1 (Palermo, 1988, in press)Google Scholar.

37 In RISM these dedicatees are referred to as composers, and Perconti's book is accordingly described as a collective volume. Vincenzo Pace one of the composers in the volume, was prefect of Assisi Cathedral in 1620; Giovanni da Bettona was custodian of the Sacro Convento. See Brumana, ‘Assisi’.

38 The Franciscan mission, traditionally directed towards the humblest ranks of the faithful, is founded mainly on preaching per exempla as a means of stimulating popular response, and differs from that of the Jesuits, who adopt a persuasive technique with its basis in rhetoric, working with complex conceptual elaborations. For a general view of the relationship between these aspects of Franciscan spirituality and the folkioric heritage, see Ginzburg, C., ‘Folklore, magia, religione’, Storia d'Italia, i (Turin, 1972), pp. 603–76Google Scholar. On the markedly ‘popular’ spirit of the Capuchins in particular, see Cargnoni, C., ‘Alcuni aspetti del successo della riforma cappuccina nei primi cinquanta anni’, in Le origini della riforma cappuccina: Atti del Convegno di Studi Storici, Camerino, 18–21 September 1978 (Ancona, 1979), pp. 213–59Google Scholar.

39 On Cifra's work at Loreto, see Tebaldini, G., L'archivio musicale della cappella lauretana (Loreto, 1921)Google Scholar.

40 On the diffusion of Franciscan ideals through the printed word, works of art, engravings, etc., see the catalogue L'immagine di San Francesco nella Controriforma (Rome, 1982)Google Scholar, especially S. Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, ‘Francescanesimo e pittura riformata in Italia centrale’, pp. 63–158; A. T. Romano Cervone and F. Ulivi, ‘Il romanzo del Cappuccino’, pp. 29–33; and S. Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, ‘La diffusione dell'iconografia francescana attraverso l'incisione’, pp. 159–224.

41 Costanzo, G. Di, Disamina degli scrittori e dei monumenti risguardanti San Rufino vescovo e martire di Assisi (Assisi, 1797), pp. 337–40Google Scholar.

42 On Marcello Crescenzi as patron of the arts, see Barroero, L., Casale, V., Falcidia, G., Pansecchi, F. and Toscano, B., Ricerche in Umbria, ii (Treviso, 1980)Google Scholar.

43 The most important facts about Orvietan publishing are assembled by Conti, L. Tammaro, Annali tipografici di Orvieto (Perugia, 1977)Google Scholar.

44 On Zannetti, see Darbellay's, E.apparatus criticus to Toccate e Capricci di Girolamo Frescobaldi, Monumenti Musicali Italiani (Milan, in press), pp. 227–8 and 28 n. 5Google Scholar, and, on his work at Rome Sartori, C., Dizionario degli editori musicali italiani (Florence, 1958), p. 170Google Scholar.

45 Giovanni Battista Robletti, who worked at Rome from 1609 to 1650, opened a branch at Tivoli and, in 1636, one at Rieti. See Sartori, , Dizionario, pp. 132–3Google Scholar. On his negligible production at Rieti, see Sassetti, A. Sacchetti, ‘Librai e tipografi a Rieti’, Bollettino della regia deputazione di storia patria per l'Umbria (1915), pp. 479–82 (p. 479)Google Scholar.

46 By the end of the century Orvieto was in a phase of severe decline; the texts printed there by Ruuli's successor Palmerio Giannotti are of purely local interest. See Tammaro Conti, Annali tipografici.

47 Giovanni Battista Rocchigiani (b. Orvieto; d. Rieti, after 1632) was maestro di cappella at Orvieto Cathedral in 1623, and thereafter at Rieti; apart from his two Orvietan books, he published a collection of music at Rome in 1632 (Dialogorum concentuum). Cristoforo Piochi (b. Foligno, c. 1595; d. Siena, c. 1675), organist of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome, in 1612, became maestro di cappella at Amelia, Orvieto, Faenza and Siena; he published several books of sacred music at Rome, Bologna and Venice. Antonio Maria Abbatini (b. Città di Castello, 1595; d. there, 1679), a pupil of the Naninos, worked at Rome, Città di Castello, Orvieto and Loreto, and then returned to Rome, where he was guardian of the congregation of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in 1663, 1666 and 1669. He wrote sacred, secular and dramatic music, almost all of it published at Rome.

48 Two other books by Giovanni Battista Abbatessa (b. Bitonto; d. Ban, after 1652) are known; consisting of pieces for five-string baroque guitar, they were published at Venice in 1627 and Rome/Lucca in 1652. F. Pasquali (b. Cosenza, late sixteenth century; d. there, c. 1635), active in the cappelle of Viterbo, Urbino and Ancona, sang at San Rufino, Assisi, in 1628–1629. As well as the book printed at Orvieto, he published several collections of sacred and secular music at Venice and Rome.

49 Giuseppe Giamberti (b. Rome, 1600; d. there, 1644) was maestro di cappella at Orvieto Cathedral between 1624 and 1628; he was in Rome from 1630 onwards, first as maestro di cappella at Santa Maria Maggiore, and then, from 1662 to 1664, in the same post at Santa Maria dei Monti. His other two books of music were also published at Rome. Tullio Cima (fl. 1620−75) was a singer at San Giovanni in Laterano, and maestro di cappella at Perugia Cathedral in 1646; in addition to his Orvietan book he published eight other collections of sacred music, all at Rome.

50 Filippo Vitali (b. Florence, 1590; d. there, after 1653) worked mostly at Rome and Florence; he was the composer of L'Aretusa, one of the first operas performed at Rome, and published several volumes of sacred and secular music.

51 Fabio Costantini (b. Staffolo, near Ancona, 1570 or 1575; d. Tivoli, 1644) worked in the cappella at Orvieto Cathedral, and later at Tivoli, Rome, Ancona, Loreto, Rieti and Ferrara. Books of his sacred and secular music were published at Rome, Venice, Naples and Antwerp as well as at Orvieto.

52 See Bianconi, , Seicento, pp. 4791, esp. 47–9, 73–4, 86–9Google Scholar.

53 Robletti's activity at Orvieto deserves an article to itself, since it forms part of a wider picture, that of Roman printers setting up shop outside the city, perhaps for reasons of economic convenience or with other motives which remain obscure.

54 On the town's musical tradition, see Pascale, M., ‘Orvieto’, Dizionario enciclopedico universale della musica e dei musicisti, iii (Turin, 1984), pp. 501–2Google Scholar.

55 Other books of music are also dedicated to various members of the Avveduti family: Giovanni Piccioni's Quarto libro de madrigali a cinque voci (Venice, 1596) to Vespasiano; the same composer's Sesto libro de madrigali a cinque voci (Venice, 1608) to AngeloGoogle Scholar; and Bertei, F. Girolamo's Ricercari (Rome, 1618) to MuzioGoogle Scholar.

56 On seventeenth-century church music and the myth of Palestrina ‘princeps musicae’, see Bianconi, , Seicento, pp. 107–20Google Scholar.

57 Among other pieces collected in the Maggio fiorito is Caccini's madrigal Occhi, soli d'amore. See Marsolo, P. M., Madrigali …, ed. Bianconi, L., Musiche Rinascimentali Siciliane 4 (Rome, 1973), p. 12 n. 8Google Scholar.

58 Pasquali, F., Il libro terzo dei madrigali a 12345 voci e basso continuo (Rome, 1627)Google Scholar. In the 1627 edition the first part of the madrigal shows slight variants in both the text and the music; but from ‘Ma la morte sia vita’ to the end it corresponds perfectly to that of 1623.

59 See Bianconi, , Seicento, pp. 209–12Google Scholar, and for the Pianto di Rodomonte, see Ciliberti, G., Antonio Maria Abbatini e la musica del suo tempo (1595–1679): Documenti per una ricostruzione biobibliografica (Perugia, 1986), pp. 8493Google Scholar.

60 Farnese was the dedicatee of Li diversi scherzi a 1 2 3 4 voci, by Cifra, Antonio (Rome, 1615)Google Scholar; Sigismondo d'India's Libro de madrigali (Venice, 1616)Google Scholar; and Reggio, Fattorin da's Primo libro di madrigali a tre (Venice, 1605)Google Scholar.

61 Cardinal Tiberio Muti, a relative of Paul v, as well as his private chamberlain and cupbearer, was created Bishop of Toscanella and Viterbo in 1611; see Moroni, G., Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica, xlviii (Venice, 1843), p. 152Google Scholar. The connection between Francesco Pasquali and Cardinal Muti (to whom the 1627 collection of madrigals is also dedicated) goes back to Pasquali's time as maestro di cappella at Viterbo Cathedral. See Angelis, A. De, ‘La cappella musicale di Viterbo’, Rivista Italiana di Musicologia, 19 (1984), pp. 2135Google Scholar.

62 On Cardinal Pietro Paolo Crescenzi, see Moroni, , Dizionario, xviii, p. 185Google Scholar; Marabottini, F., Catalogus episcoporum urbis veteris (Orvieto, 1667), p. 30Google Scholar; and the entry on him by Fosi, I. Polverini in Dizionario biografico degli italiani. xxx (Rome, 1984), pp. 648–9Google Scholar.

63 On the history of Orvieto, see Fiumi, L., Orvieto (Città di Castello, 1891)Google Scholar. On various aspects of the Rome\Orvieto relationship, see Pedetta, L. Proietti, ‘Le visite apostoliche e pastorali in Umbria’, Orientamenti (cited above, n. 3), pp. 543–65Google Scholar. The key moments in the construction of a solid bond between the two cities date back to the sixteenth century: they include Clement VII's residence at Orvieto and the election to the papal throne of Paul iii, domicellus of the town.

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