Manuscript Choir Books - Basilica of San Marco


A group of seven manuscript choir books from the Basilica of San Marco in clear need of conservation, was adopted by Venice in Peril Fund in May 2015. The cost of the project was €5,000.

This project followed the conservation earlier in the year of eleven other manuscripts from the same historic music archive, whose treatment was financed by the Swiss Committee, Fondazione Svizzera Pro Venezia and the American committee, SAVE Venice.

The choir books include the following works:
No.2 - Turbe degli Passij per la Domenica delle Palme - Settings for music for Palm Sunday and Holy Week by Rovetta (1596-1668) and Asola (1532-1609)
No.5 - Missa Octava quinque vocibus – D. Natale Monferrato(1603-1685)
No.7 - Missa Brevis – Antonio Biffi (1666-1733)
No.8 - Magnificat for 4 voices – probably by Antonius Biffi
No.9 - Magnificat – Antonio Lotti (1667-1740)
No.10 - Magnificat duo breves – Antonio Lotti
No.14 - Hymns, a magnificat, motets, antiphons etc – Unknown composer

The work was directed by the Soprintendenza per I Beni Librari for the Veneto region and carried out by the specialist book and paper conservation firm, Lilia Gianotti Restauro, which was responsible for the conservation of the first group of choir books.

After restoration the manuscripts will be digitalized and made available online. The books themselves are being kept under appropriate conditions in the Archivio Patriarcale, in the Seminario Patriarcale next to the church of the Salute. They will be available for research purposes to scholars and by special appointment and will occasionally be exhibited in the Treasury of the Basilica.

All 18 scores will be the focus of an international conference in 2016 which will include performances of some of the music.

Venice in Peril Fund has worked with the Archivio Patriarcale before. In 2008 it paid for the purchase, through Christie’s, of the Mariegola - or sacred rule book of the Scuola of the Santissimo Sacramento based in the parish of San Polo. This manuscript record of one of the many small parish scuole dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, was then donated to the Archivio Patriarchale. You can read more about the Mariegola in this Project Section.

This project completed in July 2016.

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