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Frank V. de Bellis Collection - Music Manuscripts


The Collection abounds with manuscript music and a large collection of 18th century scores. The latter group includes a rich sampling of the Neapolitan school. There are operas, complete and excerpted. Two interesting groups are: some forty sinfonie and overtures by da Capua, Galuppi, Cocchi, Conforto, Pergolesi, Lustrini, and others; and choral works by such composers as Paisiello, Caldara, Durante, and Leo.

Other highlights of the de Bellis music manuscript collection

A leaf from a Northern Italian choir-book, ca. 1380, from the C. H. St. John Hornby collection is the earliest manuscript, and is a lovely specimen of the art of illumination.

On thirty-five folio size leaves of vellum is a Mass for the Dead dating from the middle of the 15th century. Its provenance is the library of George Dunn of Wooley Hall.

The authorship of an intriguing holograph lute tablature (“comencato August 5, 1615”) has not been established, although on the first leaf the signature of Ascanio Bentivoglio appears. The dedication is to one Erchole Corio of Milan. Believed never to have been transcribed or printed, it contains about sixty airs and dances.

Two manuscript song-books of the 17th century (4" x 11") contain songs and duets with basso continuo.

A holograph manuscript by Alessandro Scarlatti, signed, “Venezia, Gennaio, 1707,” is an oratorio for six voices based on the biblical story of Cain and Abel entitles Il primo omicidio. Its world premiere performance was in Siena in 1966 and San Francisco of the same year.

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