Handwritten Scores

La bohème by Giacomo Puccini, autograph score, 1896
Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, aria Celeste Aida, autograph score, 1872
L’italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini, Elvira’s aria Nella testa ho un campanello, autograph score, 1813
Il Ciro riconosciuto by Niccolò Jommelli, autograph score, 1744
Raragramma by Sylvano Bussotti, autograph score, 1982
Giuseppe Verdi, Nabucodonsor, chorus Va` pensiero, autograph score, 1842

The collection contains almost 8 000 scores from the mid-1700s to the end of the 20th century - not just opera, but also chamber music and symphonic music. The oldest are Il Ciro riconosciuto by Niccolò Jommelli of 1744 and 24 Capricci by Niccolò Paganini; among the most recent are scores by Luigi Nono (e. g. his major work of musical theater Prometeo, 1984) and Franco Donatoni (e. g. his arrangement of Bach’s Kunst der Fuge for orchestra, 1992). There are also a large number of “romances” that are still performed in Italy today, by Francesco Paolo Tosti and others, arrangements, and a range of works for musical education.

A significant portion of the autograph scores has been carefully restored. The restoration has revealed deleted passages and amendments that have never been seen before, for instance on pasted-over pages that were not previously visible. The study of the autographs is fundamental for the reconstruction of authoritative editions and for better understanding of the compositional genesis of an opera; it can also provide an insight into the personality of the composer: the quality and texture of the paper, the type of ink, musical notation, and the manner of correcting, non-musical additions and dedications.