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Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 11 (2005) No. 1

L’oratorio musicale italiano e i suoi contesti (secc. XVII–XVIII): Atti del convegno internazionale, Perugia, Sagra Musicale Umbra, 18–20 settembre 1997. Quaderni della Rivista Italiana di Musicologia 35. Edited by Paola Besutti. Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2002. [xiv, 604 pp. ISBN 88-222-5153-9. 63.00.]

Percorsi dell’oratorio romano, da “historia sacra” a melodramma spirituale: Atti della giornata di studi (Viterbo, 11 settembre 1999). Colloquia 1. Edited by Saverio Franchi. Rome: IBIMUS, 2002. [xxii, 340 pp. 30.00.]

Reviewed by Margaret Murata*

1. The Italian Oratorio: Chronicles and Contexts

2. Oratorio Music and Texts


“Mai si sono visti tanti Alessandro Magno
e Nerone quanti Davide e Gefte.”
—Norbert Dubowy (1997)

1. The Italian Oratorio: Chronicles and Contexts

1.1 Music history textbooks typically offer two examples of the Baroque oratorio, usually one Latin excerpt by Carissimi and one in English by Handel. A few, perhaps, might also make a historiographic visit to the 1706 Discorso dogmatico on oratorios by Arcangelo Spagna.1 Spagna tracks back to the 1640s and credits the first printed use of oratorio as an indication of musical genre to two Italian librettos by Francesco Balducci in Rome (Spagna names no composers).2 However, the extent of oratorio performances in Italian, ca. 1650 to 1700 and beyond, as well as their dissemination and confluence with pre-Oratorian, local habits of devotional music making, are a phenomenon unto itself. Just as the new stile rappresentativo would have been introduced to more people and heard more often in public musical devotions than in aristocratic stage or chamber performances,3 so research of the last twelve years or so points to the likely preponderance in Italy of oratorio performances over operatic productions, except in the unusually active and open theatrical scene in Venice. In Norbert Dubowy’s words, “No one ever saw as many Alexander the Greats and Neros as Davids and Jephthes.”4 Indeed, the contributions to the Perugia and Viterbo conferences of 1997 and 1999 represented here give some notion of the quantity and variety of musical works that constitute the field of oratorio research, as well as when and where they differed from opera.

1.2 The seventeenth-century oratorio will always remain somewhat of a mystery, since the more we learn about it, the more scores we know not to have survived, a proportion that seems greater than is the case with opera scores. The loss of scores is partly due to their frequently local nature—sponsorship by a modest local entity, composition by a local composer whose worldly goods did not end up in a private collection or which finished in a confraternity or congregation that was eventually abolished or suppressed. Furthermore, Oscar Mischiati and Arnaldo Morelli, in particular, have shown that, as with operas, oratorios were performed again and again in different localities and decades and with unknown amounts of rewriting of text and/or music.5 Librettos were also reset to new music. Both practices can make it difficult to match an extant score to a specific performance. Several essays in the two volumes reviewed here point out that librettos were costly to print and that for many performances, especially in cities less peopled by wealthy nobles, commemorative prints were not issued. Notices of performances, of course, do document activity, but alone are almost useless as clues to actual works, since the references are often to their Biblical stories, which, endlessly rescripted, were presented over and over again. (Actual published titles, in fact, were often literary extravagances, ignored in scores, account books, and by reporters. Text incipits—preferably for each of the two parts or component acts—are mandatory for provisional identification.) Ten of the twenty-two essays in the two volumes under review here provide useful tables of works and performances that give concrete indications of oratory repertories and the range of the two conferences:

On Subjects

Roman dialogues and oratorios on the Passion in Latin (8 items dated from before 1620 to 1689)6

Roman dialogues and oratorios on the Passion in Italian (20 items dated from before 1638 to before 1689)7

Italian oratorios on the life of Saint Ermenegildo (19 items dated 1678 to 1783)8

By Occasion

Academies on the Feast of the Assumption at the Collegio Clementino, Rome (83 items dated 1666 to 1763)9

Oratorio librettos for Catania, classified by feast day of performance (111 items dating from 1688 to 1803)10

Two Roman Composers

Chronology of the oratorios of Bernardo Pasquini (29 items dated 1671 to 1695)11

Compositions by Quirino Colombani (15 oratorios and 26 items in other musical genres, many undated; dated items from 1695 to 1710)12

By Patron or Place

Oratorios with political references produced in Rome and environs from 1651 to 1721 (65 items)13

Oratorios commissioned by or dedicated to Livio Odescalchi (44 items dated Rome, 1685 to 1713)14

Oratorios commissioned by or dedicated to Francesco Maria Ruspoli (71 items, dated Rome, 1695-1727)15

Oratorios performed in Mantua, 1672–1706 (82 items; possibly 10 with extant scores)16

Oratorios in English or Italian performed publicly in London, 1732–83 (60 items, with the number given for each of later performances up to 1784 )17

1.3 The Perugia conference specifically and usefully focused on “variable contexts” for oratorio presentations.18 Several contributions explore the diffusion and creation of oratorios outside of the Rome-Florence-Bologna-Modena corridor and share similar beginning strategies: seek out the Oratorians; trace Roman composers or composers who have worked in Rome; look for musical activities in the confraternities and other institutions affiliated with religious entities, such as colleges, or for occasions that venerate the Host; and find vestiges of civic-religious celebrations, such as feasts of patron saints or birthdays of rulers. Luciano Buono offers such an assortment from his investigation of oratorios in Sicily before 1700.19 Apart from the as-yet-few librettos he can tie to the Oratorians in Palermo, the links with Rome were through composers, such as those who came to Messina: Ottavio Catalani (from 1624 to 1645), who had composed a sacred Latin opera in Rome in 1613,20 Vincenzo Tozzi (from 1648 to 1675), Domenico Scorpione (in Rome 1675–8), and Paolo Lorenzani (in Messina from 1678). Like many of the parallel investigations, Buono’s builds up a sense of activity in large and small centers from documentary notices and surviving librettos, fully aware that without scores we are often uncertain about what “form” the music might have taken—whether the public witnessed a story with incidental music or one sung throughout; whether there was clearly scenery of some sort, whether the work was more opera than oratorio;21 or whether, if no libretto is known, a work was more dialogue or oratorio (especially since works known elsewhere as oratorios seem to receive the label “dialogue” in Sicily).

1.4 What is clear from Buono’s article and from many of the others, is that the execution of oratorios merged with long-standing local traditions of festive rappresentazioni sacre and the performance of celebratory, decorative music throughout the church year. Over time, plays with music could easily yield to complete musical dramas, with text and music generated locally as before; musical dialogues could be replaced by one-off or by recycled, imported oratorios. In well-funded cases, the musical project might have been a fully staged opera on a religious subject. In August 1643, for instance, Vienna celebrated the empress’s birthday and name day with Giovanni Valentini’s oratorio La vita di Santo Agapito. A year earlier, however, the emperor’s birthday merited a moral opera by the Venetian Orazio Persiani, with music by the composer of the 1629 Roman opera Diana schernita.22 Comparing the two events would seem to confirm the standard perception of “oratorio” as opera without costumes and scenery, a genre one tier below opera that extended the opportunities to hear operatic music beyond the winter season. This image is confirmed in detail in Besutti’s documentation of “court oratorio” in Mantua.23

1.5 However, the cumulative accounts in the two volumes also argue as much for a “bottom up” scale of genres as for a “top down” one. Juliane Riepe gives examples of traditional occasions, such as patronal feasts and the formal professions of faith made by new members to the brotherhoods, for which Bolognese confraternities would organize rappresentazioni spirituali and dialogues with religious subjects, either partially or completely in music.24 Herbert Seifert points out three “reflexions and paraphrases” in Italian—that is, tropes—to Latin liturgical texts for Corpus Christi celebrations in Vienna in 1642.25 Carlida Steffan observes that when oratorios in Latin emerged in the repertories of the Venetian ospedali in the 1670s, they replaced solo motets and sacred dialogues in paraliturgical contexts.26 In her paper on Passion settings, Ala Botti Caselli observes that in the first decades of the Seicento in Rome, Latin motets and dialogues were rarely associated with the Passion music; rather they were heard on other holidays during the year, such as the Annunciation, the return of the prodigal son, and the conversion of St. Paul. Oratorios, then, took their place in all these sorts of musical occasions, in addition to their traditional Lenten role. Marcellino and Maugeri’s tables chronicle librettos for the feast days of Sant’Agata and of the Holy Nail, as well as the Lenten Quarantore.27 The annual celebrations of the August feast of the Assumption at the Collegio Clementino in Rome featured Latin odes in the 1660s (which Stefano Lorenzetti calls “cantatas” and may have been the kind of choral odes known from the Seminario Romano in the 1630s). “Music” and festive decorations appeared in the notices for the same occasion in the 1680s and Latin recitations disappeared. In 1703 the Assumption music at the Clementino was Alessandro Scarlatti’s Italian oratorio Il trionfo di Maria Vergine.28

1.6 We have also tended to imagine that with respect to singers, oratorio practice followed operatic. In Mantua, we know that stage and chamber castrati filled the Duke’s chapel, in which capacity they also sang his oratorios. Paola Besutti further documents the participation of women singers in palace performances of oratorio; in 1698, two virtuose went from stage engagements in Venice to oratorio singing in Mantua.29 In the context of private performances, it is difficult to know if there was a distinction between chamber cantata and oratorio, apart from subject matter. But oratorio soloists across Italy could hardly have all had careers primarily in the theater. Buono states that the major chapels of Sicily included castrati; we must assume that such choirs must have supplied most oratorio soloists. A 1668 beatification in Palermo elicited comment on the singing of the “eunuchs,” described as “half-men,” that is, part “defective” and part “angelic.” In 1680 for an Assumption performance in the smaller city of Randazzo, west of Taormina, “two eunuchs from Nicosia,” even further to the west, were hired.30

1.7 Galliano Ciliberti describes the region of Umbria in the seventeenth century as a poverty-beset dependency of Rome. Nevertheless, he counts 392 oratorio productions in the late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 217 of them outside of Perugia.31 The earliest notices come from the winter of 1663–4; the earliest printed libretto so far uncovered represents a performance in 1679 for San Silvestro in Todi (a parish church in modern times) of a work composed by its maestro di cappella. Ciliberti notes the Jesuit preference throughout the region for simpler devotional cantatas rather than oratorios and walks through an array of other entities that sponsored oratorio performances: the Franciscan order (which drew largely on local composers), seminaries, the Bishop of Foligno, a college of notaries and doctors, and academies; as well as private nobles, including, inevitably, some from Rome. In toto, the multiple sponsors and venues in the different regions point to the utility and decency of the oratorio as a form of public Christian display. Jean Grundy Fanelli concentrates on oratorios in the Tuscan grand duchy, in cities other than Florence, during the 1720s and 30s.32 At the peak of their popularity, according to Grundy Fanelli, these oratorios were local undertakings;33 she attributes a decline in performances to an invasive dominance by Arcadian writers. Herbert Seifert’s essay, already cited, emphasizes Vienna’s musical connections with Rome. He shows that the outlines of different types of sacred dramatic music appeared more clearly earlier in Vienna than among the welter of known Roman presentations that lack sources. He re-emphasizes the distinction between da rappresentarsi and da cantarsi in two 1643 works by Giovanni Valentini as anticipating the Viennese sepolcro on one hand and the oratorio on the other. Marina Gallarani’s investigation of Milan hardly overlaps with Robert Kendrick’s survey of early Baroque music in the seat of Spanish Lombardy.34 After a brief explanation of the invisibility of the Oratorians there until 1650, she surveys 170 librettos and the few surviving scores under the categories of works for Lent, Christmas oratorios, and oratorios and cantatas for saints’ days, which often involved events of three, eight, or nine days’ observances. As elsewhere in Italy, the pious patronage of nobles was essential.35 Spanish and Italian nobles founded the Jesuit congregation of the Santísimo Entierro in 1633, which in 1669 formed a section for its noblewomen to venerate Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. Librettos for its Lenten cycles, however, are not extant before 1713. An example of a saint’s day oratorio is the first printed Milanese libretto associated with the June feast of Saint Anthony, the 1696 L’innocenza patrocinata e difesa dal miracoloso santo di Padoa. Milan also provides examples of the various ways oratorios were programmed. For instance, at Santa Maria Segreta, the two parts of an oratorio were sung on different Wednesdays in Lent; or, in 1709 the Lenten Concerto and Passion at the Oratorio della Beatissima Vergine del Suffragio consisted of three moral cantatas (for one, two, and three voices respectively) followed by a one-part Passion oratorio, which had five roles.

2. Oratorio Music and Texts

2.1 With increasing knowledge of specific patrons and discoveries of the range of occasions and of the variety of functions for which oratorios were suitable, we can begin to paint a far more detailed background against which to interpret the oratorios that we do have with their music. In terms of the sociology of music, the sole fact of performance may represent luxury consumption (as in Mantua) or may enhance civic pride, collective “self-representation” (Riepe), personal status (Livio Odescalchi after the death of his uncle Innocent XI), or family credentials;36 but that is not to deny individuality and efficacy to single works or distinctive musical attributes to oratorios in their own right. In this regard, Norbert Dubowy, with his usual astuteness, closely compares two oratorio scores on the popular Old Testament figure of Judith. One for five soloists was composed by Alessandro Scarlatti in 1693 to a libretto by Pietro Ottoboni. In 1697 the same Scarlatti wrote another for three voices to a libretto by Pietro’s father, Antonio. Dubowy compares the dramatic functions of the arias in both, but makes the most interesting observations with regard to how narrative action is communicated in the two works. The language of Antonio Ottoboni’s libretto, he judges, calls upon our imaginations more and creates more vivid moments, and these characteristics, in turn, make for more responsive and vivid music. Dubowy then analyzes the disposition of the scene settings (luoghi scenici) of the two librettos. Though both oratorios are in the two conventional parts, the earlier one shifts scenes in the manner of opera librettos,37 whereas the scenes change only twice in the 1697 work. Dubowy not only points out the increased scene-setting content in the 1697 text itself, but also credits Scarlatti with composing scene-changing music, of a kind completely lacking in the earlier Giuditta. Because the music itself makes the action “more visible,” Dubowy finds more in it to listen to.

2.2 The 1999 conference was prompted by the performance of two unpublished Baroque oratorios during the XXV Festival Barocco di Viterbo, under the artistic direction of Riccardo Marini in collaboration with the Scuola Musicale Communale of that city. Victoria Passionis Christi by Francesco Foggia (d. 1688) and Santa Francesca romana by Antonio Caldara prompted a symposium focused on research in the Roman orbit, including an introductory talk on Roman musical sources in the Municipal Library of Lyons, which houses the Foggia score.38 Thus Botti Caselli’s survey of Roman Passion settings was designed to contextualize the Foggia work, which is scored for eleven voices in three choruses. Caldara, who was in Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli’s employ, wrote his five-voice oratorio for Ruspoli in 1710. (Four copies of the score exist.) This work was the springboard for Saverio Franchi’s systematic exploration of Ruspoli’s musical patronage, and the seventy-one oratorio performances that can be associated with him. Composers in addition to Caldara so far identified for the Ruspoli oratorios are Quirino Colombani, Francesco Barbieri, Domenico Laurelli, Pietro Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel, Carlo Cesarini, Francesco Gasparini, Antonio Pollarolo, Domenico Antonio Berti, Benedetto Micheli, and Cinzio Vinchioni.

2.3 For the Viterbo conference, Mauro Sarnelli discussed the Foggia and Caldara works in terms of the oratorio as a literary genre.39 He chose a historiographic focal point midway between the two works in Arcangelo Spagna’s well-known Discorso intorno a gl’oratorii that appeared in his 1706 Oratorii overo Melodrammi sacri (Spagna was born in Viterbo). Sarnelli has also uncovered evidence that Spagna updated the 1706 edition, intending to include the thirty librettos from his own hand with the addition of a prefatory appendix in 1714 that Sarnelli transcribes in full.40 Spagna’s own literary-musical sensibilities were formed in the last half of the Seicento; his ideals of lyric poetry for music were derived from Chiabrera, Fulvio Testi, Francesco Balducci, and Giulio Rospigliosi; his first oratorio libretto was heard in 1656.41 Spagna’s Discorso has long been mined for historical facts about the early history of the oratorio, but Sarnelli argues that Spagna’s historical presentation is polemical and designed to give weight to his critical arguments against Gianvincenzo Gravina (who was an anti-Senecan, for example) and Alessandro Guidi. Spagna’s “concept of tradition,” says Sarnelli, was tied to “a sectarian selectivity, Bembian in origin and Barberinian in development” (p. 151). Sarnelli’s discussion of Spagna’s principal topics—such as the abolition of a testo (narrator) and his advocacy of rhymed verse in oratorios—presents the librettist historically, in a creative tension between his own extensive experience, Apostolo Zeno’s ideals for melodramma, and what Sarnelli summarizes as contemporary “tendencies to a normativity characterized by ever-pressing examples of rationalism, represented by echoes of the philosophic-scientific poem par excellence, the De rerum naturam of Lucretius” (p. 144). Sarnelli’s aim in this appropriately literate essay is to rescue Spagna from those who would see him only as a backward-looking advocate for tradition as well as from those who see in him a mere follower of the leading literary reformers. For example, within the constraints of the short lengths of oratorios, their ever-Biblical repertory of subjects, and contemporary demands for verisimilitude, Sarnelli points out Spagna’s approval of invented turns of plot (“episodii per abbellimento”) without which the result would be a simply told tale, not a “poetic drama.” Sarnelli thoroughly explores the question of rhyme versus the versi sciolti preferred by Gravina and Guidi, although this discussion always needs a musicological reminder to put the writerly concerns into perspective. The long, florid arias emerging at the turn of the century no longer projected poetic forms with any integrity. Both rhyme and metric schemes of the poetry dissolved in melismatic phrases and disappeared under the onslaught of repeating musical motives. No matter the nature of the poetry, vocal lines developed in the direction of “prose” over the armature of tonal progressions and groupings of downbeats. The critic of this new musical style was, of course, Tosi. Spagna barely accommodated himself to the da capo convention. Would the style of early eighteenth-century western music have been any different without the Arcadians?

2.4 Sarnelli’s own discourse on Spagna serves as a prelude to his examination of the librettos to the Foggia and Caldara oratorios, as well as to Spagna’s own Comico del cielo nella conversione di S. Genesio. He finds Foggia’s anonymous Latin text deliberately archaizing in its adoption of prose for the narrative passages, in imitation of the earlier role of Scripture. Not surprisingly, the soloistic and choral passages are in the rhyme and metric schemes of canzonetta style, familiar to musicians from the seventeenth-century solo motet repertory. In the closing chorus, he hears echoes of lines from Job, Psalm 136, and Petrarch’s sonnet (no. 292) on the death of his Laura, in which the poet’s “cetera … rivolta in pianto” has become the Passion text, a “cantica vertantur in lamenta.” The discussion of the Spagna libretto (composer and date of performance unknown) draws upon its apparent reliance on the 1668 opera La comica del cielo by Rospigliosi with music by Antonio Maria Abbatini. With it Sarnelli makes a transition to a discussion of the Arcadian Santa Francesca romana, which was first set to music by the Neapolitan Domenico Laurelli in 1701 for a female relative of Prince Ruspoli.42 The text reveals itself Arcadian in its verse, with its “sprezzatura tutta graviniana e guidiana” in both its arias and recitatives. The closest prosodic comparisons Sarnelli makes, moreover, are to passages from oratorios by Carlo Sigismondo Capece (d. 1728), an Arcadian and author of numerous librettos of operas and oratorios, including Handel’s Resurrection Oratorio. Unfortunately, the Viterbo volume does not address Caldara’s music, and the paper for the Perugia conference treating the oratorio in Vienna after 1660, which would have discussed the later Caldara, did not materialize.

2.5 Each of the contributions in these two dense volumes acknowledges the foundations laid by the systematic studies and bibliographic discoveries of preceding scholars. This includes the fundamental and ongoing labors of Arnaldo Morelli, who spoke at both conferences. The man whose work inspired oratorio research in the 1980s and 90s, Howard Smither, heads the Perugia volume with “A Survey of Writings since 1980 on Italian Oratorio of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.”43 Both the Perugia and Viterbo conferences add substantially to this list. The editors of both volumes wisely added to their utility by indexing oratorio titles, although only the Perugia volume has a separate, but highly useful, index of text incipits. Oscar Mischiati, who died in 2004, graced the Viterbo conference with a tantalizing communication regarding Erdmann Neumeister. Suggesting that Neumeister was as pivotal a librettist for the Protestant church cantata as Arcangelo Spagna was to the Italian oratorio, Mischiati alone crossed the confines of Catholicism, surely a welcome opening for another conference.


*Margaret Murata (mkmurata@uci.edu) is Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine and studies vocal music in seventeenth-century Rome. She has most recently written on cantatas by the Roman castrato Marc’Antonio Pasqualini, student music in Italian colleges during the Baroque, and arie antiche in the early twentieth century. She is a past President of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Italian journal Recercare and the editorial board of the Web Library of Seventeenth-Century Music.

1 Arcangelo Spagna, Oratorii overo melodrammi sacri con un discorso dogmatico intorno l’istessa materia (Roma: G. F. Buagni, 1706; reprint, ed. Johann Herczog, Musurgiana 25, Rome: Libreria Musicale Italiana, 1993).

2 Balducci’s two texts called oratorio are discussed by Howard Smither in his History of the Oratorio I: The Oratorio in the Baroque Era: Italy, Vienna, Paris (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), 179-81. A detailed recent discussion is in Chapter 1 of Christian Speck, Das italienische Oratorium, 1625–1665: Musik und Dichtung (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002). [It is to be reviewed in a future issue of JSCM —ed.]

3 Margaret Murata, “Quia amore langueo or Interpreting Affetti sacri e spirituali,” in Claudio Monteverdi, studi e prospettive: Atti del Convegno, Mantova, 21–24 ottobre 1993, ed. Paola Besutti, Teresa M. Gialdroni, and Rodolfo Baroncini (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1998), 87.

4 Norbert Dubowy, “Le due Giuditte di Alessandro Scarlatti: Due diverse concezioni dell’oratorio,” in L’oratorio musicale italiano e i suoi contesti, the first volume under review here (hereafter L’oratorio, Perugia 1997), 259.

5 Oscar Mischiati, “Per la storia dell’Oratorio a Bologna: Tre inventari del 1620, 1622, e 1682,” Collectanea Historiae Musicae 3 (1963): 131–70. Arnaldo Morelli, “La circolazione dell’oratorio italiano nel Seicento,” Studi Musicali 26 (1997): 105–86. As with opera librettos, printed texts often were not re-edited to conform with the text as performed.

6 Ala Botti Caselli, “Parafrasi e meditazioni sulla Passione nell’oratorio romano del Seicento,” in Percorsi dell’oratorio romano (hereafter Percorsi, Viterbo 1999), 51.

7 Botti Caselli, 52–3.

8 Stefano Lorenzetti, “Natura e funzioni dell’oratorio di collegio: il caso del ‘S. Ermenegildo,’ da tragedia latina a ‘sacra tragedia musicale’,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 306–7.

9 Stefano Lorenzetti, “‘Con ottima Musica e sommo applauso’: Per una storia degli oratori dell’Assunta al Collegio Clementino,” in Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 113–35.

10 Antonio Marcellino and Salvatore Maugeri, “Per una storia dell’oratorio a Catania nel Settecento: ‘L’esaltazione di Mardocheo’ (1776) di Giuseppe Geremia, ‘maestro di cappella catanese’,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 57–76.

11 Arnaldo Morelli, “Gli oratori di Bernardo Pasquini: problemi di datazione e di committenza,’ in Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 73–94.

12 Giancarlo Rostirolla, “Un compositore di oratori ‘celeberrimo,’ ma ‘vario di cervello,’ Quirino Colombani da Correggio: Appunti per una biografia,” in Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 216–26.

13 Saverio Franchi, “Il principe Livio Odescalchi e l’oratorio ‘politico’,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 199–257.

14 Franchi, “Il principe Livio Odescalchi,” 182-99.

15 Saverio Franchi, “Il principe Ruspoli: l’oratorio in Arcadia,” in Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 275–316.

16 Paola Besutti, “Oratori in corte a Mantova: tra Bologna, Modena e Venezia,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 406–20.

17 Lowell Lindgren, “Oratorios Sung in Italian at London, 1734–82,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 544–5.

18 “Agli studiosi intervenuti … è quindi stato chiesto di analizzare l’oratorio musicale come un sistema di comunicazione immerso nei propri mutevoli contesti,” Paola Besutti in the “Premessa” to L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, xi. Not every paper given at the two conferences has been published in these volumes. It should be noted that the articles in this volume have abstracts in English. Arnaldo Morelli’s 1997 paper, “‘Un bell’oratorio all’uso di Roma’: Patronage and Secular Context of the Oratorio in Baroque Rome,” trans. by Marella Feltrin-Morris, has been published in Music Observed: Studies in Memory of  William C. Holmes, ed. Colleen Reardon and Susan Parisi (Warren, Mich.: Harmonie Park Press, 2004), 333–51.

19 Luciano Buono, “Forme oratoriali in Sicilia nel secondo Seicento: il dialogo,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 115–39.

20 David musicus at the Collegio Germanico; see Margaret Murata, “Classical Tragedy in the History of Early Opera in Rome,” Early Music History 4 (1984): 111–6.

21 Buono associates the presence of scenery with saints’ day festivities in smaller communities (“Forme oratoriali,” 128).

22 Herbert Seifert, “The Beginnings of Sacred Dramatic Musical Works at the Imperial Court of Vienna: Sacred and Moral Opera, Oratorio and Sepolcro,L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 495–8, 501–2. Giacinto Cornacchioli’s Diana schernita was published in 1629; no performance anywhere has been documented.

23 See ref. 16.

24 Juliane Riepe, “‘Per gloria del nostro Santissimo Protettore, per propria divotione, e per honore della Compagnia’: Osservazioni sulle esecuzioni di oratori delle confraternite in Italia nel XVII e XVIII secolo,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 341–64.

25 The Ragionamento sovra il Santissimo (Vienna: Matteo Cosmerovio, 1642). Seifert posits that verse and music were probably by Giovanni Valentini (L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 493).

26 Carlida Steffan, “L’oratorio veneziano tra Sei e Settecento: fisonomia e contesti,” in Perugia 1997, 440–1.

27 See ref. 10.

28 Title from the undated libretto published by D. A. Ercole, which may have been for its performance in the spring of the same year at the Oratorians’ Santa Maria in Vallicella. See Arnaldo Morelli, Il tempio armonico, musica nell’oratorio dei Filippini in Roma (1575–1705), (Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 1991), 55, n. 173. A dated print by de Rossi calls it “cantata per l’Assunzione,” associating it with the Clementine performance. For an August 1705 performance it was titled Il regno di Maria assunta in cielo; in 1710 in Naples it was called La sposa dei sacri cantici. Four scores survive.

29 Besutti, “Oratori in corte a Mantova,” 400–2.

30 Buono, “Forme oratoriali in Sicilia,” 119–20.

31 Galliano Ciliberti, “La diffusione dell’oratorio musicale in Umbria,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 309–21.

32 Jean Grundy Fanelli, “Aesthetic and Practical Influences on the Tuscan Oratorio of the Late Baroque,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 323–39.

33 An example is the first Ermenegildo oratorio given in 1689 at the Collegio Tolomei in Siena. Its libretto was by a boarder, the music by the college’s maestro di cappella; see Lorenzetti, “Natura e funzioni dell’oratorio di collegio,” 292–6.

34 Marina Vaccarini Gallarani, “L’ambrosianità del contesto nella storia dell’oratorio milanese,” in L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 453–88, which concentrates on the years 1680 through the 1770s. See Robert L. Kendrick, The Sounds of Milan, 1585–1650 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 80–6, which briefly treats the orders and confraternities.

35 External financing of musical activities in confraternities is well documented in Riepe, “Per la gloria del nostro Santissima Prottetore,” especially 357–62.

36 Franchi shows that some of the subjects of Ruspoli’s oratorios were saints who had presumed or actual connections to his family. By “celebrating” them, he intended to enhance the legitimacy of his own nobility in the eyes of the papal court and Roman aristocracy; cf. “Principe Ruspoli,” 252–8.

37 “The action terminates in one spot and is taken up in another after an indeterminate lapse of time” (“Le due Giuditte,” 273). On this oratorio and other sacred music by Foggia, see the acts of a 1988 conference dedicated to him, published as Francesco Foggia, “fenice de’ musicali compositori” nel florido Seicento romano e nella storia, ed. Ala Botti Caselli (Palestrina: Fondazione Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1998).

38 Pierre Guillot, “La Musique italienne et les oratorios italiens (XVIIe siècle) conservés à la Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon,” Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 55–65. Guillot had previously published a catalogue of the library’s manuscript collection: Catalogue des manuscrits musicaux de la Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon, Patrimoine des bibliothèques de France 1 (Bordeaux: Société des Bibliophiles de Guyenne, 1985). The Italian scores largely came from the Jesuit college of the Holy Trinity in Lyons and from the bequest made after 1713 to the Lyons Academy of Music by a councilor to Louis XIV, Antoine Hédelin, “lyonnais.”

39 Mauro Sarnelli, “Percorsi dell’oratorio per musica come genere letterario fra Sei e Settecento,” Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 137–97.

40 Spagna, “L’appendice al fatto discorso,” three pages tipped into the copy of his Oratorii overo Melodrammi Sacri … Libro primo at I-Ra, between pages 24 and 25; transcribed by Sarnelli in Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 195–7.

41 Spagna, “L’appendice,” Percorsi, Viterbo 1999, 197. The composer of his La Prudenza tra i perigli nell’historia di Debora remains unknown.

42 In addition, one of Ruspoli’s “aunts” (actually his cousin once removed) had presided over a convent originally founded by the saint; cf. Franchi, “Principe Ruspoli,” 252–5.

43 L’oratorio, Perugia 1997, 3–19, with a classified bibliography.

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