c.320 pages, oblong 4to (20.5 x 27.5cm), on 40 gatherings (each a sheet of four leaves), numbered by the copyist throughout, with catchwords except at the end of cantatas, the final work possibly incomplete, although marked "Fine", contemporary French red morocco gilt, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, green silk marker, Italian provenance, probably 1690s, titles above the music sometimes trimmed by the binder, rubbed but sound, some browning and a few worm-holes
This is a substantial contemporary source for the solo cantatas of Alessandro Scarlatti (1659-1725), the most important Italian composer of this genre. Two works are absent from Edwin Hanley's thematic catalogue of Scarlatti's solo cantatas (and the 'Scarlatti' worklist in The New Grove): namely, the opening work, 'Comincia il core à perdere' in D minor, comprising three arias linked by recitatives, and 'Si trastulla l'idol mio col cantar do re mi fà', in C major, comprising five arias and ariosos. Of these, the first is clearly attributed to Scarlatti by the copyist himself, whilst 'Si trastulla l'idol mio' also exists in a manuscript in the Biblioteca Comunale in Jesi, where it is anonymous.
All the other cantatas are known works by Scarlatti, listed by Hanley and TNG. A few are dated in other manuscripts (for example in the Santini collection in Münster) to c.1689-1698, and the binding also dates from this period. The copy of 'Il rosignolo se scioglie il volo' is the earlier of Scarlatti's two settings of this text. The seventeen known cantatas are preserved in a mere handful of other contemporary manuscripts, none in Scarlatti's hand. Hanley records only one other source for the accompanied cantata 'Piango sospiro e peno' H.563, in the British Library, where it appears at a different pitch. The remaining works are Hanley's numbers 9, 187, 450, 721, 207, 538, 379, 340, 411, 639, 176, 10, 176, 758, 70 & 317. Two cantatas in TNG are published in modern editions, and one recorded by Hanley in c.1710. The copyist has numbered all forty gatherings throughout, and nothing seems to be missing.
Literature: E. Hanley, 'Alessandro Scarlatti's Cantate da camera: a Bibliographical Study', unpublished doctoral dissertation (Yale, 1963)
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