THE VESSELLA MANUSCRIPT
Francesco Durante, Intavolatura in A Minor
Nicoleta Paraschivescu, Silbermann-Organ (1761) Arlesheim Cathedral (Switzerland)
The Vessella Manuscript, Sonate per Organo di Varii Autori is a collection of Neapolitan keyboard pieces which was probably assembled during the second half of the eighteenth century. It is drawn from the Fondo Vessella, located in the Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte in Rome. This collection was formerly in the possession of Alessandro Vessella (1860–1929) of Caserta, who studied piano and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro A Majella in Naples. Among the Neapolitan composers featured in this collection, four names appear in connection to specific compositions: Leonardo Leo (1694–1744), Francesco Durante (1684–1755), Marchese Giovanni Battista Cedronio (1739–1789) and Filippo Cinque (dates unknown).
The fugue in E minor (track 22) is an authentic eighteenth-century realization, and offers great insight into the performance practice of partimenti. There is little doubt, for example, that the theme of the fugue in G Minor (track 20), derives from an anonymous partimento fugue in the same key found in
I-Mc Noseda Th.c.107, a voluminous Neapolitan partimento manuscript that once belonged to Vincenzo Tobia Bellini, the grandfather of Vincenzo Bellini.