Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006





Publication Title

Journal of Musicology


In the archives of the old and wealthy patrician family of the “da Filicaia” housed in the Florentine Archivio di Stato survives a group of letters written by, among others, one Ambrogio Angeni to the young Antonio da Filicaia, away on family business in northern Europe for extended periods of time during the 1480s and 1490s. The correspondence details the musical activities of these young men's Florentine brigata and reveals a close involvement with Heinrich Isaac and proximity to Lorenzo de' Medici's private musical circles. The letters document a very active traffic in musical scores, both vernacular works composed in Florence by Isaac and others that were mailed north, as well as sacred and secular works composed in France and sent to Florence. More specifically, the letters contain many musical references to new compositions, works by Isaac, preparations for carnival, aesthetic judgments and technical discussions, Lorenzo's patronage, and a very active local composer previously unknown to musicologists. The correspondence dates from 1487–89, while Antonio was residing in Nantes (Brittany), and it provides an unprecedented view of musical life in Florence at a critical period when carnival celebrations were resurgent, northern repertory was being collected and copied, northern composers (like Isaac) were interacting with local composers, and compositional procedures were changing.


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Published as The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 23, Issue 1, pp. 97–152, ISSN 0277-9269, electronic ISSN 1533-8347. © 2006 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.