Mr Mark Spyropoulos
Mr Mark Spyropoulos
The role of the Medici family as supporters of the visual arts in fifteenth and sixteenth century Florence is universally recognized but their role as patrons of music is less well known. Their influence lead to the establishment of the Florentine Camerata (a group of scholars, poets and musicians) which would go on to invent opera and lay the groundwork for the Baroque style which would dominate the art form in the following century. Considering the great sacred choral traditions of Venice and Rome at this time, it would seem highly unlikely that Florence had no such equivalent. Archival evidence to date suggests that Florence did indeed have a rich tradition of sacred music.
This project has the potential to make an important contribution not only to our understanding of the history of music in Florence but also to the wider repertoire of sacred music itself. A preponderance of evidence (mostly letters written to and from the Medici and in their inventories) indicates that amongst the manuscripts housed in Florentine archives and libraries, there lie masterpieces of sacred music as yet undiscovered. The Medici Archive Project database (bia.medici.org) contains over 1000 unpublished letters from the age of the Medici relating to music and musicians providing the lead for finding musical manuscripts. Over 20,000 musical manuscripts are housed at the Florentine State Archive, the National Library in Florence and in the archive of the Florence Cathedral. Whilst the collections have been explored from various angles, as yet sacred music has not been thoroughly researched.
Our aim is to uncover, examine, publish and perform hitherto unknown sacred musical manuscripts produced during the fifteenth and sixteenth century in Florence.
In November 2018 the Medici Archive Project established the Michael Lewis Fellowship for research on sacred music of the Medici. Dr. Giordano Mastrocola, (musicologist and Senior Researcher) will work closely with Mr. Mark Spyropoulos (musician and Project Director) and Rose Byfleet (Project Coordinator) on the research, documentation and editing of the scores.
A key part of this research project is performance. A new vocal ensemble will be established, directed by Mr. Spyropoulos, to perform the rediscovered works. This will greatly improve our understanding of the music and importantly, bring the pieces to life for a wider audience.