Il censimento


Although it is the first project to attempt a census of manuscript and printed film music held in Piedmont, in its initial stage Cabiria Project could benefit from the results of other research carried out in the last decades and still ongoing.

Namely, we refer to the census project on subalpine musical heritage promoted by Regione Piemonte and Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte following an agreement signed in 1999, renewed several times and no longer viable.

After a dozen years since the project began, the Istituto has surveyed over 900 music collections and produced, thanks to the adoption of the Sistema Informativo della Direzione Beni Culturali della Regione Piemonte (SIRe), a database currently listing information on the two thirds of them, providing a sort of identity card of the institutions (with historical notes and indications on access and research tools), a survey of each single collection with information on its creation and on the items held (manuscript and printed music, libretti, Latin liturgical manuscript and printed books, letters, sound and audiovisual documents, iconographic sources, musical instruments), on reference literature. Alongside the implementation of the digital database a series of volumes is published, which, besides releasing the results progressively achieved, is aimed at providing a historical, musicological and bibliographical foray into the uncovered information. Up to know the following have come to light: Le fonti musicali in Piemonte, vol. I, Torino, edited by Annarita Colturato, Lucca, Libreria Musicale Italiana – Torino, Regione Piemonte, 2006; Le fonti musicali in Piemonte, vol. II, Cuneo e provincia, edited by Diego Ponzo, ibid., 2009; Le fonti musicali in Piemonte, vol. III, Asti e provincia, edited by Paolo Cavallo, ibid., 2011. The fourth volume, Alessandria e provincia, edited by Stefano Baldi, is in preparation.

Together with number and date of music manuscripts and prints, SIRe requires an indication of the genre the works can be referred to, offering the following options: religious vocal, secular vocal, operatic, instrumental, other kinds of music. In face of the usefulness of various information uncovered during the project of Regione Piemonte and Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte, insofar as film music Cabiria Project could not benefit but from the sporadic information the collaborators provided alongside and in completion to what entered in the database.

Once the state of the art was assessed, Cabiria Project started a thorough survey around the region, favoured also by a network of personal connections and sometimes obstructed by inaccessible premises or by more or less apparent reticence. Contemplating the second step of the project the detailed cataloguing of scores, and since the census posed as a simply preparatory stage to it, adopting a concise data collection record, which would allow the identification of resources, was believed to be enough.

The overall calculation of the scores found in all the provinces in Piedmont – a calculation which, as it usually happens with these kinds of projects, will not fail to be further increased in time – amounts to 107 manuscripts and 2,754 prints, of which almost a fifth goes back to the first three decades of the 20th century and as many to the following decade.

As it was to be expected, the most consistent group (over a thousand scores) is held at the Archivio and Bibliomediateca “Mario Gromo” of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema; followed by the Biblioteca Civica Musicale “Andrea Della Corte” in Turin (over six hundred scores), the Biblioteca della Scuola Comunale di Musica “Francesco Antonio Vallotti” in Vercelli and the Biblioteca privata Bruno Raiteri in Verolengo (over two hundred), the Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria in Turin (little less than two hundred).

Research confirmed the archives and libraries of the religious institutions can have some surprises in store even if concerning fields apparently far from their institutional purposes; indeed, findings have been numerous especially in Turin in the Biblioteca “Eugenio Reffo” of the Congregazione di San Giuseppe (Collegio Artigianelli), in the Archivio Arcivescovile, in the Biblioteca del Collegio San Giuseppe, in the Biblioteca del Convitto Ecclesiastico della Consolata.

If the most considerable group is made of songs and single instrumental pieces, the resources feature some of the first film scores, often held in reductions for few instruments or piano: from Saint-Saëns’ one for L’assassinat du Duc de Guise by Calmettes and Le Bargy (1908) to Osvaldo Brunetti’s for Lo schiavo di Cartagine by Luigi Maggi, Roberto Omegna and Arturo Ambrosio (1910); from Carlo Graziani-Walter’s for Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei by Eleuterio Rodolfi (1913) to Pizzetti and Manlio Mazza’s for Cabiria by Pastrone (1914); from Breil’s one for The Birth of a Nation by Griffith (1915) to Mancinelli’s for Frate sole by Corsi and Falena (1918).

We must also mention Angelo Francesco Lavagnino’s music held in the family’s private archive in Gavi (Alessandria) and the scores written for documentaries produced by companies like FIAT and Olivetti.