9th Biennial Conference on Baroque Music


Music in the Liturgy of S. Pietro in Vaticano during the Reign of Paul V (1605-1621): The First Liturgical Diary of Andrea Amico

Noel O'Regan

The basilica of S. Pietro in Vaticano has long enjoyed a unique status among the churches of Rome and of the Roman Catholic world. Though not the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, as the basilica closest to the pope’s major residence since the return from Avignon it formed the major large-scale public papal liturgical space. It was a collegiate church with a very full liturgical life, a papal necropolis, the fount of important relics - particularly those associated with the Passion, a centre of pilgrimage and the end-point of processions on Rogation days, during Holy Week and on many special occasions. To service all of this it supported a staff of nearly 100 canons and beneficed clergy, as well as the members of the Cappella Giulia.

During the early 17th century one of these beneficed clergy, Andrea Amico, kept a diary of liturgical and other activities associated with the basilica; the reign of Paul V saw the destruction of the remnant of the Constantinian basilica and the completion of the new one, so that this period was a crucial one in forming ceremonial and custom for the new basilica. Though mention of music is sporadic, the diary throws some valuable light on performance practice as well as providing a context for the music of Francesco Soriano (maestro di cappella 1602-20) and Girolamo Frescobaldi (organist 1608-1643).

This paper will examine some of the information available in the diary and what it tells us about the function and performance of plainchant and polyphony during the first years of the newly-completed basilica.

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Last updated on 22 March 2000 by Yo Tomita