Musica Toscana

Musica Toscana, Inc. (MTI), a Louisville tax-exempt educational foundation dedicated to the publication, performance and study of Tuscan music utilizing the resources in the 18th-century Ricasoli Collection in the Anderson Music Library of the UofL School of Music, has announced the release of the first two volumes of its new series entitled Monuments of Tuscan Music, under the general editorship of Robert L. Weaver, retired professor emeritus from the University of Louisville and president of MTI

The volumes have been printed by Art Print and Publishing of Louisville

Louisville in the 19th century was the location of a vigorous music publishing industry and this venture may be the first step in reestablishing Louisville as a center of music publishing

The first volume is "Selected Sacred Works by Eighteenth-Century Florentine Composers" edited by John P. Karr, instructor at the University of Louisville and Jefferson Community College and executive director of MTI

Included are previously unpublished motets by some of the most important composers in Tuscany of the time, Bartolomeo Felici, Luigi Pelleschi, Ferdinando Rutini, Gaspero Sborgi and Niccolo Valenti. Written in a fresh, clear, classical style these motets are very suitable for performance by public school, college and church choirs and choral societies. Three of them have been performed by the Louisville Bach Society

The second volume is "Debora e Sisara," a sacred opera by Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi, edited by Anthony DelDonna, who is a musicologist at Georgetown University (Washington, D. C.), together with his Italian colleagues, Eleonora Negri and Francesco Ermini Polacci. The history of this opera, which, unlike most operas of the era, was performed continually for almost 40 years after its premier in Naples, 1788, is particularly interesting. It was commissioned by Maria Carolina Hapsburg, the Queen of Naples, to justify to the public her increasing role in the government of her husband, King Ferdinando IV. The story of the priestess, Deborah, from Judges, was chosen to illustrate the point that women were as capable as men of leading the state even in time of war. Deborah led the Israelites in a war for their liberation from the tyranny of the Canaanites under their general, Sisera. With the help of Jehovah, who crushed the Canaanites with a fierce hail storm, Sisera was defeated. He fled the battle scene only to be killed by Jael, Deborah¹s admirer, who enticed him to rest in her tent

While he slept she drove a nail through his temple

The queen was dissatisfied with the 1788 version and so it was rewritten and performed again in Naples in 1789. A copy of the score and instrumental parts evidently copied for a performance in 1790 in Pisa exists in the Anderson Music Library and it was used by the general editor, Robert L. Weaver, to correct and to fill in music missing in the Neapolitan score

Interest in performing Debora e Sisara has already been expressed. A presentation ceremony, an Italian celebration for the appearance of a significant publication, took place on December 12 in Naples at the ancient Accademia dei Turchini. At this ceremony, papers related to the opera were read by prominent Italians musicologists. Eleonora Negri, one of the editors, is making arrangements for other presentations in either/or Milan, Rome, or Florence. A similar presentation of Debora e Sisara took place in Bird Hall of the UofL School of Music on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Very brief introductory essays were read by Drs. Jonathan Glixon, University of Kentucky and Anthony DelDonna, Georgetown University (Washington, D. C) and excerpts of the opera were performed by a group of singers organized and rehearsed by Prof. Donn Everette-Graham, Professor of Voice at the University.

The third volume presents three previously unpublished concertos for keyboard and chamber orchestra. Edited by Scott Roberts, professor of music at The University of Tennessee Martin, the first concerto is by Carl Antonio Campion, noted as the favorite composer of Thomas Jefferson. It has been hailed by a reviewer, Prof. Daniel Freeman, as an important new discovery. The second concerto by Andrea Lucchesi was known and used by the Mozarts - father and son - for teaching and as a model for composition. The third concerto was composed by Johann Wanhal considered an important forebear and model for Mozart. The second two concerts were edited by Anna Kasket, harpsichordist of Norwich, England.

The fourth volume publishes for the first time ever a collection of eight sonatas for flute and keyboard by Niccolò Dothel, who was born in Lorraine but moved early in his career to Florence, Italy, to play flute in the band of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was the most productive and famous flautist in Italy during the 18th century. Many of his works were published at that time in Paris and London. However, the manuscript of these sonatas is unique and its existence was unknown until the publication in the Monuments of Tuscan Music.

Musica Toscana sponsors two public concerts with champagne receptions each year in the fall and spring at the Dickinsons’ Bachhaus, 4706 Hanford Lane, the next taking place on November 17, 2006, at 5:30 p.m. The concert will present four motets for voices and instruments performed by the Ricasoli Ensemble and a concerto for chamber orchestra and organ featuring Melvin Dickinson playing an instrument made especially for the Bachhaus by Gottfried Reck of Louisville. For free invitations call 473-0054.

MTI is undertaking a fund raising during the months of June and July in order to cover the costs of the continuation of its publications. It wishes also to inform the public that by contributing all or a major part of the publication costs they may become sponsors of individual volumes of the "Monuments of Tuscan Music." Sponsors, besides being recognized in the introductory pages, may dedicate the volume as a memorial to whomever they wish. The sponsor of the volume of sacred music is The Rae and Lamar Weaver and Margaret Westley Scholarship Fund. The sponsors of "Debora e Sisara" are Mr. Robert and Mrs. Margaret Kulp. The next volume, a collection of keyboard concertos, is sponsored by Ms. Mimi Guarnieri

Copies of MTI publications may be ordered by writing to John P. Karr, 461 W. Santa Ana #1, Clovis, CA 93612 or at Noteworthy Sheet Music Service, 4012 DuPont Cir . Louisville, KY 40207, 502-893-0448. The price of the volume of sacred music is $45; of the opera, $120, plus shipping