Manuscript Choir Books, 16th-18th century, from Basilica San Marco, Archivio Patriarcale

About the project

These manuscript choir books were adopted in May 2015 and include the following settings, some bound in leather and others in paper and card:
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
Conservation treatment involved a unstitching and reassembling bindings and strengthening weakened and torn pages and covers with Japanese tissue and cardboard fibre reinforcements.
The project followed the conservation 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.
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.
The choir books have now been digitalized and will be available as an online resource in the Historical Music Inventories 1500-1800 database, published by RISM Switzerland in collaboration with the University of Fribourg. Meanwhile the books themselves will be kept under conservation conditions in the Archivio Patriarcale, in the Seminario Patriarcale next to the church of the Salute.

How to find it

In brief

  • A group of seven 17th-18th century choir books in manuscript form that were used in the Basilica of San Marco.
  • The cost of the project was met by Mrs Humphrey Brooke, the first secretary of Venice in Peril Fund in memory of her husband and her mother.
  • In 2008 Venice in Peril funded another  Archivio Patriarcale project helping it acquire a Mariegola – or sacred rule book – of the confraternity called the Scuola of the Santissimo Sacramento of San Polo. 
  • The manuscript choir books can be consulted for research purposes by appointment with the Archivio Patriarcato and will be exhibited occasionally in the Treasury of the Basilica.
  • All images on this page are reproduced by kind permission of the Archivio Patriarcale di Venezia.
  • In 2018-19 two further manuscripts in the Archivio Patriarcale were conserved. Read about the Sant’Angelo Raffaele Manuscripts here.

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