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Mus. 377

Manuscript. Cantatas for two and three voices by Rossi, Cesti, Carissimi and others, copied in score; copyist probably Italian, c.1650. (The same copyist was also responsible for Mus. 996.) For information about the early ownership and provenance of this volume, see below. The music is written continuously across double-page spreads, in two systems.

  • Items 5, 10 and 16-19 were also copied by the same scribe in Mus. 996.
  • Items 2 and 5 were copied by Henry Aldrich in Mus. 18, possibly using Mus. 377 as exemplar.
Table of titles and composers in modern form. Display form found in manuscript.
1 Luigi Rossi Vorrei scoprirti un dì ff. 1r-4r
2   Occhi belli, ohime ff. 4v-6r
3 Luigi Rossi Tu sarai sempre il mio bene ff. 6v-10r
4   Partitevi da me speranze infide ff. 10v-12r
5 Marco Marazzoli Amanti, sentite Amor ff. 12v-17r
6   Parlate per me, narrate al mio bene ff. 17v-20r
7   Pian piano mio core ff. 20v-24r
8   Siano pur tutte infinite ff. 24v-27r
9 Luigi Rossi O cieli, pietà ff. 27v-30r
10 Marc'Antonio Pasqualini Già son morto e non lo crede ff. 30v-33v
11 Luigi Rossi Dite, o cieli, se crudeli ff. 33v-35r
12   E di ragion ch'io mora ff. 35v-37r
13   Se saggia vuoi parer ff. 37v-40r
14 Luigi Rossi Pene, che volete da me? ff. 40v-42r
15   Trè infelici amanti ff. 42v-47r
16 Luigi Rossi Amor, se devo piangere ff. 47v-49r
17 Luigi Rossi Amanti, ardire o goder o morire ff. 49v-51r
18 Luigi Rossi Lasso, benché mi fugga ognor lontano ff. 53v-56v
19 Giacomo Carissimi Sciolto havean dall'alte sponde ff. 57r-68v

Oblong format, 210 x 160 mm. 68 folios, in two layers:

  • Layer 1 (ff. 1-56): items 1-18 (= cantatas a2), ruled with six staves to the page. Collation: A8 (ff. 1-8), B8 (ff. 9-16), C8 (ff. 17-24), D8 (ff. 25-32), E8 (ff. 33-40), F8 (ff. 41-8), G8 (ff. 49-56). Foliation in ink added by the copyist, with intermittent additions in modern pencil. The end of the last piece in this layer (item 18) was copied wholly on a verso, not across a double-page spread.
  • Layer 2 (ff. 57-68): item 19 (a3), ruled with eight staves to the page. Collation: H6 (ff. 57-62), I6 (ff. 63-8). The first leaf is foliated '57' in ink by the copyist; thereafter the foliation is in modern pencil.
Index of contents (without composer attributions) added by the copyist on the verso of the second front flyleaf. Mid 17th-century binding of white vellum over boards; edges partly coloured with red and blue stripes. There are offsets between the last music page (f. 68v) and the rear flyleaf, resulting from closure of the volume while the ink was still wet; this implies that at least some of the music contents were added after the volume had been bound. Mid-17th-century annotation on outside upper cover (almost certainly not in the hand of the music copyist): 'Musica del Sig[no]r Angelo Micheli / Uno de Musici Della Capella / de Reina di Swecia / Upsaliae Martii 21 / 1653 / a 2 et 3 voce'. Annotation on front flyleaf, probably in a mid-17th-century English hand: 'D'al dono di [changed to 'del'] signor Angelo Micheli / uno de li musitii [deleted; replaced by 'di musica', further changed to 'musici'] nella [changed to 'della'] capella / di Reini [changed to 'Reyna'] di Suecia / Upsalia Mar: 21. / 1653'. No early bookplate. 19th-century shelfmark: I.7.77.

Provenance: Mus. 377 almost certainly formed part of the repertory of the ensemble of Italian musicians that visited the court of Queen Christina of Sweden in the two years before her abdication in 1654; for further details, see Webber (in Bibliography below). This ensemble, led by Vincenzo Albrici, included the theorbist Angelo Micheli Bartolotti, who can be identified as the donor of the volume; see above: 'D'al dono di [changed to 'del'] signor Angelo Micheli'. It is not known how or when the volume then passed into English ownership; for some possibilities, see Webber. Nor is there concrete evidence that Mus. 377 shared a common provenance history with Mus. 996 (which was copied by the same scribe). Indeed, it seems likely that the two volumes reached Christ Church by different routes, Mus. 996 probably as part of the Aldrich bequest, Mus. 377 by a different track. In Mus. 377, the absence of any early shelfmark or bookplate strongly argues against Aldrich provenance, and may instead imply that the book reached Christ Church as part of the Goodson bequest. However, there is no mention of Mus. 377 in Clement 1747, or indeed in any of the 18th-century catalogues of the Christ Church music collections. The fact that two pieces found in Mus. 377 were also copied by Henry Aldrich at the start of Mus. 18, probably in the 1670s, cannot be taken as proof that he owned Mus. 377.

Microfilm: manuscript music, reel 48.


Geoffrey Webber, 'Italian Music at the Court of Queen Christina: Christ Church, Oxford, Mus. MS 377 and the Visit of Vincenzo Albrici's Italian Ensemble, 1652-54', Svensk Tidskrift för Musikforskning, 1993:2, pp. 47-53.