Lazzaro Valvasensi in Maienfeld

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A valuable musical document is preserved in the private library of the Graubünden noble family Sprecher von Bernegg in Maienfeld. It is the only surviving copy of a Venetian music edition from the first half of the 17th century by the Friulian composer Lazzaro Valvasensi (1585-1661). As part of the D-MUS (Digital Music Unica in Switzerland) project, this edition has now been digitised and the images published on RISM online. The RISM catalogue lists ten surviving editions from this author, between Opus 1 of 1617 and Opus 16 of 1640. Although Valvasensi was mainly active as a composer of sacred music, he also published a few collections of secular songs, entitled ‘Giardino d’amorosi fiori’ (‘garden of amorous flowers’). The collection preserved in the Sprecher private library lacks a title page, but the running title at the foot of the page reads ‘Terzo giardino’. It is thus the third collection in the series, after a first, lost, and a second, preserved as a single copy in Christ Church, Oxford and dated 1634. It can be assumed that the third collection was published by the same publisher, Bartolomeo Magni in Venice. How it came into the library of the Sprecher von Bernegg family, however, is unfortunately unknown. It consists of twelve strophic songs with basso continuo and guitar accompaniment. The guitar part uses alphabetical notation, and on the first page of the Maienfeld source is a transposition table between alphabetical notation and tablature.

Share Tweet Email