Lot 34
  • 34


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  • Important early seventeenth-century autograph working manuscript signed in many places ("C.G" and "Carlo Grat:")
containing eighty-five motets, arias, duets and choruses, with accompaniments for keyboard (probably organ) and chitarrone, mainly by Carlo Grat[?iani], but also including his arrangements of pieces by Marenzio, "Giulio Romano" (possibly Caccini), Giacobbi, Quagliati, Barbarino, Vecchi and others, a working manuscript notated in brown ink on up to ten staves per page, the vocal lines on five-line staves and the accompaniments on seven-line staves, with extensive revisions, deletions and alterations, including music added in the margins, with some extended passages (and smaller alterations) added on slips of paper pasted into the score or affixed to the margins, with an autograph index signed ("Carlo Grat:")

321 pages, folio (c.33 x 23.5cms), including the 2-page autograph index signed, the double-page openings numbered 1-158, bull's head watermark, with 4 smaller fragments loosely inserted, contemporary limp vellum, vellum tabs, Italian provenance (probably Rome or the Papal States), c.1610-1630, ties defective, some perforations and holes from oxidization of the ink



Tibor Tallian, 'Archivdokumente über die Tätigkeit Stefano Landis in Rom in den Jahren von 1624 bis 1639', in Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, vol.19, Fasc. 1/4 (1977), pp. 267-295 ("...A spese dette s[cudi] 68.80 m[one]ta in cro come sopra pagati con mand[at]o 3023 al Sud[ett]o S[igno]r Carlo [Gratiani] p[er] pagarli a diu[er]si musici...")

Catalogue Note

This is a new source of early Italian Baroque music, containing around eighty unknown pieces by a  contemporary of Monteverdi. It is a spectacular and substantial manuscript, apparently unrecorded.  Important (especially autograph) sources from this crucial period in the history of Western music hardly ever appear for sale at auction. 

The manuscript is of special value for the extensive vocal decorations, rarely present in early seventeenth-century printed and manuscript sources.  Thus it has particular importance for the study of contemporary perfomance practice.

The manuscript contains accompanied motets written in the early Baroque style, using the techniques of the opera aria, the bel-canto monody, and the polychoral motet, as best exemplified in the works of Monteverdi and Gabrieli.  There are arias, duets and polychoral works marked à 6 (including parts for violins); also toccatas for some of the motets, mainly for the keyboard (probably organ) as well as for chitarrone and bass viol (or violins), those  for chitarrone (bass lute), mainly written in tablature on six-line staves.  The music is written on systems of three or more staves, which generally run right across the whole opening. 

The composer is identified only as "Carlo Grat:" at the beginning of the index. We suggest that this could be Carlo Gratiani, mentioned as a composer in the archives at Rome (see Tallian's article listed below), and possibly related to the composer Bonifatio Gratiani (1604-1644). This is evidently Carlo's workbook as a composer, arranger and executant, including his drafts and brief sketches written in the margins and free staves (for example, vocal cadenzas at the end of pieces and sections).  Carlo's pieces are sometimes divided between different parts of the manuscript, indicating that the composer was still arranging the sequence of sections.  The "Stabat Mater" begins with a Sonata for organ on folio (i.e. opening) no.141; the first main vocal section is on f.144 and the "2da parte" starts on ff.117-118, the last apparently originally written as a separate "Quis est homo".  Many motets have introductory toccatas are written on pages adjacent or separated from the motet itself by several pages.  The toccata for "De Cantebat" (f.153) is particularly interesting as is clearly a working draft for the organ, to which violin parts have been added subsequently (f.151). 

The manuscript is full of working, reworking and extensive revisions.  Several entire pages have been revised by new versions laid down into the volume, covering the originals: f.103 has been completely revised with a new leaf pasted in, on which the composer has completed the motet and made working sketches for vocal cadenzas. The lower halves of the two pages at f.22 have been revised in a similar manner. In some places, added sections (such as toccatas) have been inserted on separate leaves, tipped in or else affixed to the margins. In others, alterations and additions have been squeezed into the side and bottom margins or written on slips of paper and pasted into the score (or affixed to the leading edges). Occasionally a whole opening has been pasted together and concealed (f.83).  The many short sketches throughout the volume are sometimes written out in score: often they comprise Carlo's amplification of decorated cadence-points. The manuscripts of "Domine non sum dignus" (f.21) and "Ecce cor meum" each contain three separate working drafts of their respective cadenzas; others have cues to cadenzas written elsewhere. 

Carlo's own vocal writing is replete with complex decorations, including passaggi, trilli and gruppetti, characteristic of Baroque opera and monody. Some pieces have choral sections, which the composer marks as à 7 and à 8. The arias and duets are written for women's voices (possibly for nuns).  They are all for soprano voice, except for a few pieces for soprano and alto voices, with a note suggesting that those who cannot sing low enough should sing the line an octave higher ("chi no' può a[n]dar basso ca[n]ti alto all'ottava" (f.90)). Carlo's own compositions include some grandly laid-out pieces for two choirs.  The 12-part motet "Non turbetur cor vestrum" (f.72) is notated on a single eight-stave system for two choruses, violins and keyboard (organ) accompaniment, the violin accompanying the second choir. The Magnificat (f.94) for soprano and alto voices covers ten pages of manuscript. "Saneti tui domine florebunt" is for two choirs marked à8. The musical textures are enlivened by chordal sections in triple time, and with the use of hemiola rhythms, as in the motet "Candida falti sunt" (f.16).

The music calls for the use of instrumental accompaniments and introductory toccatas for keyboard, chitarrone, violins, violas and bass viols. The instruments are used within the motets to accompany or double the voices, as in the duet "Mater Hierusalem civitas"; they are also used to introduce the singing: toccatas with titles such as "Toccata al motetto Panis Angelica con violino, chitt[arron]e et lira, et basso di viola" (this written on an additional inserted leaf before the motet).  Elsewhere, instruments are asked to accompany the final cadence: "non si facci cade[n]za co' l'organo qui s[u]ona il violino". "Sicut sponsus matris" is a six-part motet, which calls for violins, even though they are not included in the present score ("...p[er] sonar quattro viole et ca[n]tar due soprani. Le parti sono su'l lib. delle partiture").  The keyboard accompaniments seem to be for organ and include additional toccatas for some motets ("Toccata p[er] Florete flores co[n] due organi"); those for chitarrone are generally written in tablature on six-line staves.  However the motet "Quasi stella mattutina", has a single bass-line notated in music and marked "P[er] il Chitt[arron]e" (f.44). The toccata for "Haurietis aquas" (f.127) is notated for a bass viol line and tablature for chitarrone ("[n] lira chitt[arron]e et basso di viola").

The works attributed to other composers are in fact Carlo's own working manuscript arrangements of Marenzio's "Se bramate ch'io mora" (from his Fourth Book a6, first published in 1587), arranged for two sopranos and organ;  "Alma mater pietatis", a six-part work by Paolo Quagliati (1555-1628), arranged as an aria for solo soprano, with virtuosic baroque embellishments, and keyboard; "Cantate domino" by Bartolomeo Barb[a]rino  (d. after 1640); "Luce gratiae tuae" by Girolamo Giacobbi (1567-1628); "Benchè sovra le stelle [...Dominus Deus meus]", by Giulio Romano, probably Giulio Caccini (1551-1618); and part of "Quella ch' in mille selve", a madrigal by Orazio Vecchi (1550-1605) arranged as an "Alleluia", and two anonymous pieces marked "d'incerto" (probably copied and arranged from printed sources).  The work possibly by Caccini, or at least Carlo's arrangement of it, is marked "per monache" [ie, for nuns]. The Marenzio adaptation includes a number of drafts for cadenzas and Carlo's extensive vocal embellishments.

We are grateful for the advice of Professor Iain Fenlon in our cataloguing of this manuscript.