The Other Giacomo Puccini

Monday, October 12, 2020

No, today we don’t mean the opera composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), who has ca. 100 entries in the RISM database, but rather the composer of sacred music. Giacomo Puccini was the great-great grandfather of the famous opera composer and lived from 1712 to 1781.  

He studied in Bologna and was in correspondence with Padre Martini. After his studies, he returned to his hometown of Lucca and was organist and choir director at the cathedral. As one might expect for someone in his position, he wrote a large number of masses, motets, magnificats, and cantatas. He became a member of the Accademia filarmonica in Bologna in 1743. His musical diaries, entitled Libri delle musiche annue, reveal a lively side of the music and musicians in Lucca from 1748 to 1777.

No printed compositions of his are known. All of his works seem to have been preserved in manuscript form only, and are only found in Italy. 

A helpful, but by no means typical, aid to performing Puccini’s music today is the inclusion of durations on many manuscripts (such as RISM ID no. 850638822).

Image: Giacomo Puccini, O sacrum convivium, manuscript from the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma (I-PAc Sanv.C.290, RISM ID no. 850600809).   


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