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Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 9 (2003) No. 1

The Chiesa Nuova in Rome around 1600: Music for the Church, Music for the Oratory

Arnaldo Morelli*


Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo needs to be set in the context of the aims and practices of the Oratory of San Filippo Neri in Rome, rather than that of the Florentine Camerata. The Oratorians’ chief interest was the word: the preached word, the sung word, but above all the word as sound, which, through the ear, reaches the heart. Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione belongs to a continuing series of spectacles and pageants acted by young boys affiliated with the Roman Oratory, most of which were spoken with some music but some of which were sung using recitative

1. Introduction

2. The Congregation of the Oratory and Its Religious Ethos

3. Patronage of the Arts in the Congregation of the Oratory

4. Music in the Congregation of the Oratory during the Sixteenth Century

5. Anerio’s Teatro armonico e spirituale of 1619

6. Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo

7. Conclusion


1. Introduction

1.1 The jubilee year 1600, to the general satisfaction of music historians dealing with the usual thorny problems of periodization, is commonly accepted as the year the opera was born. It owes its fame to the almost simultaneous creation and staging of a few specimens of a kind of spectacle the first experiments in which had taken place during the last decade of the preceding century. The year 1600 is even more important because, in the course of the few months between September 1600 and February 1601, no fewer than three scores were published of “drammi posti in musica per recitare cantando”: Emilio de’ Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione in Rome and Peri’s and Caccini’s settings of the same Euridice libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini in Florence.

1.2 This sudden profusion of performances and published scores, with long and detailed explanatory introductions, by three musicians associated with the Medici court in Florence, is evidence of the intense rivalry among these eminent figures and their claims to have originated the “marvelous invention” of dramas in music and of recitative style.

1.3 The phrase in my title “Chiesa Nuova around 1600” immediately awakens in most of us memories of the Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo by Emilio de’ Cavalieri. The performance actually took place in the Filippine oratory of the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, the so called “Chiesa Nuova,” seat of the Congregation of the Oratorio. The Rappresentatione, if we consider the matter carefully, has never aroused the same interest from musicologists as the operas that were performed in Florence and Mantua at almost the same time. Cavalieri’s opera seems at first sight a cumbersome object that is difficult to place,bb both for its subject, which does not belong to the mythological genre of the pastorale but to the moral genre, and because it was not performed in a court or in an academic circle, but in a religious setting. Up until now, the performance of the Rappresentatione in Rome has been chiefly interpreted as a reaction of Cavalieri to the Florentine milieu, which at the time seemed to prefer Peri and, even more, Caccini to him, and which apparently wished to obliterate the memory of the first pastorals, which the Roman nobleman had set to music in Florence between 1590 and 1595.

1.4 It was no accident that several music-loving cardinals, such as Montalto and del Monte, and—as Cavalieri himself underlines in a letter to the grand-ducal secretary, Marcello Accolti—“other prelates among those who came to Florence … took special pleasure in the work, since the music moved them to sadness and to laughter and gave them great pleasure, while the music in Florence [that is, the music of Caccini and Peri] moved them to nothing but boredom and distaste.”1 But all this is wholly insufficient to clarify the conditions that led to the Roman performance of Cavalieri’s opera. In this paper I will try to demonstrate that the Rappresentatione was not an entirely exceptional event, that its origin was not solely connected with the rivalry between Cavalieri and Florentine musicians, and that it was not performed at the Vallicella church by chance, but that it fitted thoroughly into the ideological program which the Oratorians consistently carried out not only through music but also through preaching and the visual arts as well as through the study of Church history and of Christian archeology.

2. The Congregation of the Oratory and Its Religious Ethos

2.1 Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione should be understood within the tradition of the theatrical plays that young men used to perform in the Filippine oratory during carnival, as I have previously demonstrated.2 These were usually prose works with some musical insertions, although there is some seventeenth-century evidence of plays that were written in order to be entirely set to music. The Oratorians’ chief interest was the word: the preached word, the sung word, but above all the word as sound, which, through the ear, reaches the heart. The image—as Padre Severano maintained—is only subsidiary to the comprehension of the word.3 The staging of the Rappresentatione should therefore be placed within this context.

2.2 In 1575, by this point with some twenty years experience behind them of catechism, devotional practices, and charitable acts, Filippo Neri and some of his closest collaborators had founded the Congregation of the Oratory, approved that same year by Pope Gregory XIII, who assigned to the Oratorians or Filippini (after their founder’s name) the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella. Even though this congregation is usually thought of in the context of the movements that arose from the Counter-Reformation climate of the Roman Catholic Church, it presents numerous elements of originality and autonomy that characterize it within the framework of the religious movements born in that historical period. Recently, an authoritative historian of the Church has even wondered if the oratorian movement should not be considered “an anomaly in the Rome of the Counter-Reformation.”4 Evidence for this includes the fact that the congregation waited until 1612 to promulgate its constitutions. Its clerical structure was unusual, too. In fact, it consisted of secular priests who took no vows except that of living in a community; they maintained full possession of their personal property and income.5 But the original character of the Oratorians becomes even clearer when it is compared with that of a congregation that developed during more or less those same years: the Society of Jesus.6

2.3 While the Jesuits were in the direct service of the Church, the Oratorians remained independent. While the Jesuits were organized in a military fashion, following a hierarchical, authoritarian model, the Oratorians had a decidedly more democratic organization, as their internal offices were elected every three years. While the Jesuits moved on a world-wide scale for the propagation of the faith and defense of orthodoxy, the Oratorians had a more modest program, on a provincial scale and not coordinated by a central authority; thus they gave rise to autonomous congregations, with no dependency on the mother-house in Rome except for a spontaneous, voluntary adhesion to its constitution.

2.4 The list of differences could be extended to other fields beyond the strictly religious. Everything seems to me to be summed up in a phrase written by the Barnabite Padre Tito degli Alessi to the Oratorian Padre Francesco Maria Tarugi in 1574: “I seem to understand that between your reverence and the Jesuit fathers there is [not] too much, rather too little feeling.”7 By this he meant to underline the difference between the Oratorians and the Jesuits in spiritual and operative matters, the former characterized by a familiar, immediate, spontaneous, open approach, the latter by an austere, gloomy, rigid, rational style, almost detached from the world.8 And while the followers of Ignatius of Loyola adopted a Thomist theology, with Aristotelian foundations and using abstract procedures, Filippo Neri and his followers derived their spirituality from Augustine, which presupposes a sort of “illuminating grace” of thought; and it shows more than one connection with the Platonism inherited from the Renaissance. From this derives the structure of the Oratorians’ meetings, recalling that of the circles of humanists, with their daily practice of “spiritual reasoning about the Gospel” or other sacred scriptures, not premeditated but “done on the spur of the moment,” as Tarugi tells us,9 and their habit of “proceeding in the manner of a dialogue,” as well as debating “some doubts.” A profound interest in history is part of this picture: the ponderous Annales ecclesiastici by Cardinal Baronio, an Oratorian priest, began as lessons for the Oratory meetings, following Augustine’s concept of history as an organic design for the salvation of mankind. These same interests gave rise to the Oratorians’ early interest in Christian archaeology as a rediscovery of the early Church and its values.10

3. Patronage of the Arts in the Congregation of the Oratory

3.1 Music was only one of the means—even if the most typical—by which the Oratorians pursued their work of catechism. Recent research has shown how in the field of art the patronage of the Oratorians was guided by a consistent program and ideology. The visual arts, in fact, played an auxiliary role in Oratorian circles, which was subordinated to forms of oral communication such as preaching, prayer, and music. This auxiliary function of the visual arts is made very clear in a letter written by the Oratorian Padre Giovanni Severano at the beginning of the seventeenth century: “Limiting ourselves, then, to just the usefulness that we gain from images, we could form the opinion that these are of benefit and aid to illuminating the intellect and inflaming the emotions and will help no less than books and the Scriptures themselves.”11

3.2 Oratorian patronage, at least in Rome, thus did not follow an accidental course but attempted, rather, to follow an organic and consistent program. When the old church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, assigned by the pope to the fledgling congregation, was completely rebuilt (hence the name of Chiesa Nuova, or “new church,” by which it is still known), Filippo Neri decreed that “all the chapels in the church must by order represent a Mystery of the Virgin.”12 The program was carried out in the decades bridging the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in works by artists like Federico Barocci, Cristoforo Roncalli, Rubens, and Caravaggio, just to mention the most important, who, although following different stylistic orientations among themselves, show an evident cultural affinity and spiritual harmony with the Oratorians. It has been shown that the Oratorians did not limit themselves merely to drawing up the iconographical program. Rather, differently from traditional family patrons, they themselves chose most of the artists, at times making suggestions or critical observations about the works in progress. It has recently been shown, for example, how the subject of the Deposition in Caravaggio’s celebrated canvas, painted for a chapel in the Chiesa Nuova, reflects more than one iconographical motif (for example, that of prayer) that can be linked to Oratorian devotional practice.13

3.3 This plurality of artistic idioms in the church of the Vallicella, “the most famous and well-attended in Rome for the fact of being … decorated by all the most talented painters in Italy, who rival each other,” as Rubens himself testified in 1606 as he prepared to paint the imposing altarpieces in the main chapel,14 testifies not to decisions made in a casual manner, but, rather, to an ideological climate more open and sensitive to new artistic expression, capable of enacting the contradictions contained in Counter-Reformation debate. This was an art capable of speaking more on an emotional than an intellectual level, more to the senses than to the reason, analogous to the style of the Oratorian exercises in which—as Tarugi wrote to Carlo Borromeo in 1579—they treated “daily the word of God in a familiar and fruitful manner,” and the sermon was aimed at “speaking to the heart.”15 As the Florentine man of letters Giovan Battista Strozzi the younger, a guest at the Vallicella in 1590, put it, “their [the Oratorians’] goal is to move [the soul], not to excite wonder.”16 Looking closely, we find also in the field of music the same principles inspiring the Oratorians’ activities that underlay their choices in the fields of visual arts, oratorical exercises, and preaching.

4. Music in the Congregation of the Oratory during the Sixteenth Century

4.1 Although music was constantly present in the Oratory meetings from the moment of their inception in Filippo Neri’s rooms at San Girolamo della Carità, it changed form and function radically from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth, in ways that cannot always be explained by the changes that took place in the history of musical taste and aesthetics. It is difficult, however, to imagine a straight line ideally connecting the laude with the origins of the musical oratorio if we do not emphasize the development of the various exercises making up the Oratorians’ practice, the composition of their public, and the ideological and pragmatic choices made by the Oratorian community in the face of problems of enormous importance.

4.2 The first meetings held in San Girolamo della Carità centered around a reading of passages from the Holy Scriptures, the lives of the saints, and the history of the Church, followed by several sermons lasting a half hour each, preached in a sober manner, and finally, “having sung a spiritual laude and said a prayer, the exercise was over.”17 Certainly these simple pieces of music were not aimed at attracting people, as the audience was still fairly small, but had, rather, a function of recreation. In fact, as we read in Bacci’s biography of Filippo Neri, singing these laudi had the function of “easing the hearts of the listeners”;18 this is confirmed by a letter that Giovenale Ancina, a future Oratorian, wrote in 1576 to his brother Giovan Matteo: “At the end we have some music to refresh the spirits which are tired from the preceding talks.” 19

4.3 The laudi resounding through the first Oratory meetings do not represent anything particularly new but fit into the tradition of the Italian polyphonic laude documented in northern and central Italy at least since the late fifteenth century, cultivated especially by the Florentine compagnie and the Venetian scuole.20 It is no coincidence that the texts and very probably also the music of the laudi sung in the earliest meetings of the Oratorians belong to the well-known Florentine repertoire published by Serafino Razzi but already in circulation since the beginning of the sixteenth century.21 Along this same line was the work of the first composer active in the Roman Oratory, Giovanni Animuccia, maestro of the Cappella Giulia in St. Peter’s, and he, too, a Florentine like Filippo Neri. The composer himself stated that, in issuing Il primo libro delle laudi, he made an effort to “maintain a simplicity that seemed fitting to the words themselves, the nature of the place, and my aim, which was only to arouse devotion.”22 But already in his Secondo libro delle laudi (1570) Animuccia was forced to modify substantially the style of his compositions, as an element, perhaps unforeseen, had come to change somewhat the spirit of the meetings:

The above-mentioned Oratory having, however, by the grace of God grown with the participation of prelates and leading gentlemen, it seemed fitting also to me to increase in this second book the harmony and the concenti, varying the music in different ways, setting now Latin words, now Italian ones to music, and now with more voices and now with fewer, and sometimes with rhymes of one sort and sometimes of another kind, getting involved as little as possible in fugues and inventions [that is, points of imitation] so as not to hamper the understanding of the words, so that with their effect, aided by harmony, they could penetrate more sweetly the heart of the listener.23

4.4 The change in the audience thus quickly caused a rise in quality of the repertoire, even if with some interesting compromises: the simple three-part laudi, usually following the same rhythm throughout, were replaced by pieces with more voices (four, five, six, and eight) but with music not much more complex from the compositional standpoint (“getting involved as little as possible in fugues and inventions”). They remain tied to a pillar of Renaissance musical aesthetic: music is the vehicle of poetry, since it is able to amplify and facilitate reception of the poetic text, stirring the emotions; for this reason it is necessary—as Animuccia affirms—“not to hamper the understanding of the words” so that they, “aided by harmony,” can “penetrate more sweetly the heart of the listener.” Animuccia’s intent adhered fully to the Oratorian spirit, to the point that some few years later (around 1578), Tarugi reiterated these concepts almost literally, writing that “the holy word of God enters marvelously the ear of those who listen carefully with the harmony and sweetness of music.”24

4.5 From this point onward, “spiritual laude,” therefore, became a generic term far more than a specific indication of a form. At times it has the traits of a motet or spiritual madrigal, sometimes of less exalted polyphonic forms like the villanella or the canzonetta. It appears that musically less complex compositions remained in use only for the exercises that took place outside the oratory, on the occasions when the audience was larger and socially heterogeneous, such as the summer “recreations” held on the Colle Sant’Onofrio and in other churches, or during the visit to the Seven Churches of Rome, as we deduce from Animuccia’s Terzo libro delle laudi (1577), explicitly destined to those “special exercises that are held publicly on holidays, now in one, now in another part of Rome.”25 And this was probably the repertoire that was realized “with the greatest musical facility and simplicity, so that it could be sung by all.”26

4.6 Rather different from a musical point of view was the situation within the sphere of the meetings held in the oratory, particularly on feast-day evenings, instituted around 1582, where the audience was perforce less numerous and consequently less heterogeneous. The higher socio-cultural level of this audience found a counterpart—as Animuccia’s above-cited dedication leads us to believe—in a musically more elevated repertoire, matched by the establishment of a fundamental musical practice: performance of the oratory music in this context is always entrusted to professional musicians (or those at least capable of performing a polyphonic piece correctly). We know that Animuccia himself, not infrequently, brought with him to the oratory a small group of singers from St. Peter’s, and many others joined spontaneously, at least in his first two or three decades of activity. As Tarugi states in his memoir of the end of the 1570s:

At the end … we sing a motet always by the grace of God, with excellent music, without the singers being paid for this or made to come, but for more than twenty years now God always sends several to the Oratory who together with some singers from our house can accomplish the task.27

4.7 The congregation, in essence, seems to have aimed at various social strata through a diversified repertoire in terms of compositional quality, as we can gather from the foreword to Animuccia’s Libro delle laudi spirituali dove in uno sono compresi i tre libri già stampati, which appeared in 1589:

And in all this selection our aim has been not only to choose laudi composed with artifice and polish to satisfy men of acute and refined judgment, but also to include many simple, plain ones for the common use of the people.28

4.8 A letter from Padre Germanico Fedeli of 1588 to his fellow Oratorian Antonio Talpa also seems to confirm these trends when he reports that Padre Soto, in charge of music at the Vallicella, “as far as simplicity is concerned, he is making significant progress on all fronts.”29 Nonetheless, this repertoire, seemingly diverse in musical and literary style, preserves a common characteristic in its search for simplicity. Simplicity here should be understood not as a refined naiveté, but, rather, as a sober and natural manner, as opposed to the artificial, intellectual style typical of the Jesuits, which the Oratorians deliberately avoided, also in the rhetoric of their sermons (“a half-hour … without any ornamentation of the words”30 as well as in their iconographical programs and their artistic choices, which share a desire to “recover a direct and naturalistic sense of representation.”31

5. Anerio’s Teatro armonico e spirituale of 1619

5.1 This search for “simplicity” persisted even when, in the earliest years of the seventeenth century, the laude genre was yielding to new forms of music. Some manuscript collections of music used by the Roman Oratory in the early years of the seventeenth century, and even more the celebrated Teatro armonico e spirituale (1619) by Giovan Francesco Anerio, show how in the first two decades the spiritual madrigal had by this point largely replaced laudi.32

5.2 The madrigal at the beginning of the seventeenth century was, however, a fairly broad and generic term, because in the last phase of its very long and rich life, this genre branched into stylistically diverse forms.33 The Roman Oratory thus did not echo with the sophisticated chromatics of a Gesualdo nor with experiments linked to the celebrated seconda pratica of Monteverdi. The Oratorian congregation, which counted also as members professional musicians like Soto, Santini, Rosini, Martini, and Isorelli and amateurs like Pateri and Onorati, was oriented toward the so-called harmonic style, that is, a style in vogue in the late sixteenth century in which the voices often move chordally, with refined harmonic effects enhancing the understanding of the texts, which were declaimed according to their meter, as exemplified famously by Giovan Francesco Anerio’s Teatro armonico e spirituale, dedicated expressly to the Oratory of the Vallicella.34

6. Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo

6.1 A recent article by Silvia Casolari35 has demonstrated that deep ties existed between the Oratorians’ preaching and Cavalieri’s work, and she has shown that Agostino Manni’s sermons and the Rappresentatione’s libretto were closely related. The same paper has also drawn attention to the connections between verbal images and the iconography of symbolic characters that appear in the Rappresentatione. Yet witnesses describing the performance of Cavalieri’s drama tend to emphasize the words’ effect, and the emotional force of the singing, rather than the sensual effect of staging or choreographic movements.

6.2 Besides madrigals, important historical consequences derived from the rapid acceptance of the musical practice, still in its early stages, called recitar cantando. In February 1600 in the Oratory of the Vallicella the celebrated Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo, with music by Emilio de’ Cavalieri, was staged. As I have already demonstrated elsewhere, the Rappresentatione should not be seen in relation to the oratorio of the future, which developed at least forty years later, but, rather, should be viewed in the broader context of theatrical spectacles usually performed by young boys. Although for the most part these pageants were recited, either in prose or verse, sometimes with the insertion of music here and there, evidence of entirely sung dramas also survives. In the biography of one of the first authors of theatrical texts for the Oratory, Padre Agostino Manni, written by his fellow Oratorian Paolo Aringhi, we read that

[Manni] did his best to have some spiritual dialogues performed by young musicians in a recitativo style, composing himself the words for them, which, being emotional and accompanied by the sweetness of the singing, struck the listeners so deeply that it moved them to tears.36

6.3 An important manuscript memoir testifies to this power of striking and moving to tears. Giovanni Vittorio Rossi (better known by his pen-name of Giano Nicio Eritreo) reported the testimony of his friend Giulio Cesare Bottifango, a man of letters who was present at the first performance of Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione:

One day I, Giovan Vittorio Rossi, was at the house of Cavaliere Giulio Cesare Bottifango, a gentleman and, besides his goodness of a rare quality, an excellent secretary, a finely discriminating poet and musician. Entering into a discussion of music that moves the emotions, he told me strongly that he had never heard anything more emotional or moving than the Rappresentatione dell’Anima set to music by the late Emilio del Cavaliere and performed in the Holy Year of 1600 in the Oratory of the Assunta, in the house of the most reverend fathers of the Oratory of the Chiesa Nuova. He was present the day that it was performed three times and never got tired of it. In particular he told me that, when he heard the section sung by Tempo [Time], he felt himself overcome by great fear and trembling. At the speech of Corpo [Body], performed by the same [boy] who played Tempo, when he doubted what he should do, namely to follow God or follow World, and then resolved to follow God, tears in great abundance fell from his eyes. He felt stirring in his heart great repentance and pain for his sins. Nor did this happen only at the moment, but every time he sang it, since every time he wanted to take communion, in order to arouse devotion in himself, he sang that section and burst out in a river of tears. He highly praised the speech of Anima [Soul]. Besides being performed divinely by that little boy, musically it was of incomparable artifice, that expressed the feelings of pain and sweetness with certain false sixths moving to a seventh, that ravished the heart. In a word, he concluded that in that genre it was not possible to do anything more beautiful or more perfect, and he added, so that you yourself can see that what I say is true, he led me to the harpsichord and sang some pieces from that Rappresentatione, and in particular the part of the Corpo which moved him so much, and I liked it so much that I begged him to give me a copy, which he very courteously did, copying it out for me in his own hand, and I learned it by heart and would often go to his house to hear it sung by him.37

6.4 In order to show this cathartic capacity of monodic music in the recitar cantando style and thus the efficacy of their artistic decisions, the Oratorians preserved among the manuscripts in their library this account of the positive effects that “music that moves the emotions” aroused in Bottifango, as perhaps the music of the Rappresentatione di Anima e Corpo did in other spectators, too. We note in Rossi’s account of the episode the precision with which he described the spectator’s reactions to the various musical effects: the deep voice of Tempo aroused in him “great fear and trembling,” while the “incomparable artifice” of “certain false sixths moving to a seventh,” by which the music expressed feelings of pain and sweetness, ravished his heart.

7. Conclusion

7.1 The repertoire used in the Roman Oratory demonstrates clearly the ability of the Congregation to choose, among the new directions in music at the turn of the seventeenth century, those that were most in harmony with their desire for simplicity and immediacy, and those that had the capacity to transmit the content of the texts, without lowering the musical level of the compositions performed at their evening gatherings on feast days. In this context we can better understand their motives for the decisive adoption of the vernacular for the texts sung during Oratory exercises.

7.2 In the Roman Oratory the choice of a sober style that was nonetheless efficacious in its didactic and edifying aims was, without a doubt, made in a deliberate and conscious manner. Proof of this is the fact that the music for the Oratory had a different orientation from the music for the church. For instance, on the occasion of the principal celebrations in Santa Maria in Vallicella, such as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and, later, the anniversary of the death of Filippo Neri, majestic polychoral music (with two, three, and four choirs of voices and instruments) was performed in the church, so extraordinary that the Oratorian diarist Francesco Zazzara wrote that in 1597, for the second anniversary of Neri’s death, “in church Mass and Vespers were sung so solemnly, with music by four choirs, as was never sung not only in [our] church, but perhaps in all Rome, with motets and new music composed by Felice Anerio.”38 And also the polychoral music, performed by voices and instruments, for the celebrations of the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in 1601, was commemorated with pomp in Latin verse by the poet Giuseppe Castiglioni:

Pulsata quantis vocibus Basilica personat sacra in Vallicella quam sinu pater Philippus condidit Psallentes hic chori mele musaea reddidit concava testudo vocis aemula refertque quos edunt fides mixtae sonoris organis39

(“The sacred basilica, founded by Padre Filippo at the Vallicella, resounds with many voices. The concave dome emulating the voice, echoes the choirs which sing harmonious melodies and resounds those emitted by the stringed-instruments with the sonorous organs.”)

7.3 The clear distinctions between oratory and church music thus confirm the intentionality of the choices made by the Oratorians. By analogy, these differences anticipate, for us by analogy, what would happen later on when they found themselves forced to decide what kind of architecture to adopt for the new oratory to be built next to the church. In this case, the Oratorians would hold firm to the hierarchical distinction between church and oratory, distinguishing clearly between the two in their architectural and decorative aspects: marble for the church facade and brickwork for the oratory; frescoes and gilded stuccoes for the church interior, white stucco and whitewash for the interior of the oratory.


*Arnaldo Morelli (arnaldo.morelli@libero.it) received his dottorato di ricerca from the University of Bologna in 1989. A former fellow (1994–5) and at present research associate at Villa I Tatti, Florence, he teaches at the Conservatorio “O. Respighi” of Latina and at the University of Calabria. He has published a monograph on the Oratorio of the Chiesa Nuova in Rome in the series “Analecta musicologica” (vol. 27), and numerous articles, mainly concerning keyboard music and instruments, oratorio and sacred music, in Rivista italiana di musicologia, Recercare, Basler Jahrbuch, Quaderni storici, Studi musicali, Musica disciplina, and various proceedings and Festschriften. He is a co-founder and a member of the editorial board of Recercare.

1 I-Fas Mediceo del principato 3622. This passage is translated somewhat differently by Claude V. Palisca, “Musical Asides in the Diplomatic Correspondence of Emilio de’ Cavalieri,” The Musical Quarterly, 49 (1963): 352.

2 Arnaldo Morelli, Il tempio armonico: musica nell’Oratorio dei Filippini in Roma (1575–1705), Analecta musicologica, vol. 27 (Laaber: Laaber-Verlag, 1991).

3 Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 28, 40, 120, 160, 200.

4 Paolo Prodi, “San Filippo Neri: un’anomalia nella Roma della Controriforma?” Storia dell’arte, 85 (1995): 333–39.

5 On the Congregation of the Oratory of Rome, see, at least, Carlo Gasbarri, L’oratorio romano dal Cinquecento al Novecento (Rome: Arti grafiche D’Urso, 1963); and Antonio Cistellini, San Filippo Neri, l’Oratorio e la congregazione oratoriana: Storia e spiritualità, 3 vols. (Brescia: Morcelliana, 1989).

6 For this comparison, and for all other art-historical observations, I am indebted to the fundamental essay by Alessandro Zuccari, “La politica culturale dell’Oratorio romano nella seconda metà del Cinquecento,” Storia dell’arte 41 (1981): 77–112.

7 Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 81.

8 Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 81.

9 Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 82.

10 See, for example, Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 171–93.

11 Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 106.

12 See Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 106; Costanza Barbieri, Sofia Barchiesi, and Daniele Ferrara, Santa Maria in Vallicella: Chiesa Nuova (Rome: Palombi, 1995), 26–27.

13 Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 92–105.

14 Michael Jaffé, “Peter Paul Rubens and the Oratorian Fathers,” Proporzioni 4 (1965): 209–241, 216–27.

15 Alessandro Zuccari, “Cultura e predicazione nelle immagini dell’Oratorio,” Storia dell’arte 85 (1995): 340.

16 Silvio Adrasto Barbi, Un accademico mecenate e poeta: Giovan Battista Strozzi il giovane (Firenze: Sansoni, 1900), 41–42; Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 20.

17 Pier Giacomo Bacci, Vita di San Filippo Neri fiorentino fondatore della Congregatione dell’Oratorio. Raccolta da’ processi fatti per la sua canonizzazione (Rome: F. Cavalli, 1636), 44–45.

18 Bacci, Vita di san Filippo Neri, 63.

19 Giovanale Ancina, Il primo processo per san Filippo Neri nel codice Vaticano Latino 3798 e in altri esemplari dell’Archivio della Congregazione dell’Oratorio di Roma, 4 vols., ed. Giovanni Incisa della Rocchetta and Nello Vian (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1957–63), 2:309; see also Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 2–3.

20 On Florence, see Frank. D’Accone, “Alcune note sulle compagnie dei laudesi durante il Quattrocento,” Rivista italiana di musicologia, 10 (1975): 86–114; Blake McDowell Wilson, Music and Merchants: the Laudesi Companies of Republican Florence (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992). On Venice, see Giulio Cattin, Laudi quattrocentesche nel codice veneto Marc. It. IX, 145 (Bologna: Forni, 1958); Giulio Cattin, “Musiche per le laude di Castellano Castellani,” Rivista italiana di musicologia 12 (1977): 183–230; Jonathan Glixon, “Music at the Venetian Scuole grandi, 1440–1540,” in Music in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Patronage, Sources,Texts, ed. Iain Fenlon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 193–208; Francesco Luisi, Laudario giustinianeo, 2 vols. (Venice: Fondazione Levi, 1983); and Glixon, “The Polyphonic Laude of Innocentius Dammonis,” Journal of Musicology 8 (1990): 19–53.

21 Giancarlo Rostirolla, “La musica a Roma al tempo del Baronio: l’Oratorio e la produzione laudistica in ambiente romano,” in Baronio e l’arte, ed. Romeo De Maio, Agostino Borromeo, Luigi Gulia, Georg Lutz, and Aldo Mazzacane (Sora: Centro studi V. Patriarca, 1985), 571–771.

22 “Io mandai fuori Il primo libro delle laudi, nelle quali attesi a servare una certa simplicità che alle parole medesime alla qualità di quel divoto luogo & al mio fine, che era solo di eccitar divotione” (Giovanni Animuccia, Secondo libro delle laudi [Rome: eredi di Antonio Blado, 1570]).

23 “Ma essendosi poi tuttavia l’oratorio suddetto per gratia di Dio venuto accrescendo co’l concorso di prelati & gentil’huomini principalissimi, è parso anco a me conveniente di accrescere in questo Secondo libro l’harmonia & i concenti, variando la musica in diversi modi, facendola hora su parole latine, hora sopra vulgari, & hora con più numero di voci & hora con meno, & quando con rime d’una maniera & quando d’un altra, intrigandomi il manco ch’io ho potuto con le fughe & con le inventioni, per non oscurare l’intendimento delle parole, acciocché con la lor efficacia, aiutate dall’harmonia, potessero penetrare più dolcemente il cuore di che ascolta…”( Animuccia, Secondo libro delle laudi, 27).

24 Zuccari, “La politica culturale,” 110.

25 “estraordinarii essercitij che publicamente si fanno il giorno di festa, hor in una, hor in un’altra parte di Roma” (Animuccia, Il terzo libro delle laudi spirituali [Rome: eredi di Antonio Blado, 1577]).

26 “con più facilità e simplicità musicale, acciò possa esser cantato da tutti” (Animuccia, Il terzo libro delle laudi spirituali).

27 Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 9–12: “Nell’ultimo … si canta un mottetto sempre, per grazia di Dio, con musica eccellente, senza che per questo i cantori sieno pagati o concertati di venire, ma più di vent’anni sono che sempre manda Dio diversi all’Oratorio che insieme con alcun di casa possono supplire.”

28 Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 64: “E in tutta questa scelta si è havuto l’occhio non solamente di pigliare le laudi composte con artificio e politezza per satisfare agl’huomini acuti e di purgato giudicio, ma anco se ne sono lassate passare molte semplici e poverelle per pascolo commune della moltitudine.”

29 Mario Borelli, I documenti dell’Oratorio napoletano (Naples: D’Agostino, 1964), 1:26–27.

30 Bacci, Vita di San Filippo Neri, 44–45.

31 M. Calvesi, “Uno ‘sbozzo’ del Caravaggio e la Deposizione di S. Maria in Vallicella” in Studi di storia dell’arte in onore di Mina Gregori, ed. Mina Gregori and Elisa Acanfora (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana, 1994), 148–57.

32 Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 66–72.

33 Lorenzo Bianconi, Il Seicento, Storia della musica a cura della Società Italiana di Musicologia, vol. 4 (Turin: EDT, 1982), 3–44.

34 Domenico Alaleona, Storia dell’oratorio musicale in Italia (Turin: Fratelli Bocca, 1945), 112–21, 245–88; Howard E. Smither, A History of the Oratorio, vol. 1, The Oratorio in the Baroque Era: Italy, Vienna, Paris (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1977), 119–26.

35 Silvia Casolari, “Allegorie nella Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo (1600): testo e immagine,” Rivista Italiana di Musicologia 33 (1998): 7–40.

36 “s’adoprò che si facesse alcun dialogo spirituale da giovanetti musici in stile recitativo, componendo egli stesso a questo effetto le parole, le quali essendo affettuose, accompagnate dalla dolcezza del canto di tal maniera compungeano gli uditori, che li moveano a lacrime.” Quoted in Alaleona, Storia dell’oratorio, 38–39.

37 “Ritrovandosi io Giovan Vittorio Rossi un giorno in casa del sig. Cav. Giulio Cesare Bottifango, gentil’huomo, oltre la bontà, di rare qualità, secretario eccellente, poeta e musico intendentissimo, et entrati in ragionamento della musica che move gli affetti, mi disse risolutamente che non haveva sentita cosa più affettuosa, né che lo movessi della rappresentatione dell’Anima messa in musica dalla buona memoria del sig. Emilio del Cavaliere, e rappresentata l’anno santo 1600 nell’oratorio dell’Assunta, nella casa delli molto reverendi padri del’oratorio alla Chiesa Nuova, e che egli vi si trovò presente quel giorno, che si rappresentò tre volte senza potersi mai satiare, e mi disse in particolare che sentendo la parte del Tempo, si sentì entrare adosso un timore e spavento grande, et alla parte del Corpo, rappresentata dal medesimo che faceva il Tempo, quando stato alquanto in dubbio, che cosa doveva fare o seguire Dio e ’l Mondo, si risolveva di seguire Iddio, che gli uscirno da gl’occhi in grandissima abbondanza le lacrime e sentiì destarsi nel core un pentimento grande e dolore dei suoi peccati, né questo fu per allora solamente, ma di poi sempre che la cantava, talché ogni olta che si voleva communicare, per eccitare in sé la divotione, cantava quella parte, e prorompeva in un fiume di pianto. Lodava ancora in estremo la parte del’Anima, che oltre esser stata rappresentata divinamente da quell putto, diceva nella musica esser un artifitio inestimabile, che esprimeva gli affetti di dolore e di dolcezza con certe seste false, che tiravano alla settima, che rapivano l’anima; in soma concludeva in quell genere non potersi fare cosa più bella, né più perfetta, e soggiunse, acciò vediate voi stesso esser vero quanto vi dico, mi condusse al cembalo e cantĖœ alcuni pezzi di quella rappresentatione et in particolare quell loco del Corpo, che lo moveva tanto, e mi piacque in maniera ch’io lo pregai a farmene parte, il che molto cortesemente face, e me lo copiò di sua mano, et io lo imparai alla mente, et andavo spesso a casa sua per sentirlo cantare da lui.” Quoted in Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 179.

38 “si cantò la messa et il vespero tanto solennemente, con musica a quattro cori, quanto sia mai stato cantato non solo in chiesa, ma forse in Roma, con motetti e musiche nove composte dal sig. Felice Anerio” (I-Rf A.iv.13, fol. 9). Quoted in Morelli, Il tempio armonico, 91.

39 Giuseppe Castiglioni, De Beatissimae Mariae Virginis Matris Dei Nativitate in ecclesiae Vallicellae celebrata anno MDCI (Rome: Mascardi, 1613), 25–26.

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