Long-lost Renaissance Mass for up to 60 Parts Found

From Sibelius Notes (May 2008):
One of the highlights of the 2008 Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, presented by Cal Performances and the UC Berkeley Department of Music, is the American premiere of Alessandro Striggio's 16th-century long-lost Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno for 40 and 60 voices, the largest known contrapuntal choral work in Western music. UC Berkeley musicologist, renowned harpsichordist, and Sibelius user, Davitt Moroney, discovered the work in 2005 at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France after a two-decade search. Professor Moroney translated the piece into modern notation using Sibelius software and will conduct the musical performance at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley, CA on June 7 & 8.
Some very interesting information about this work can be found at these links:
Video Program Notes
Moroney's Lecture explaining the history of this work and its role in European politics
Striggio bio
  • Striggio traveled to major musical centers in Europe and influenced Lassus in Munich and Tallis in England (who likely was inspired to compose his 40-part Spem in Alium after hearing Striggio's work).
  • Striggio played a critical diplomatic role on behalf of the Medici family from Florence.
  • He collaborated musically with Vicenzo Galilei (father of Galileo Galilei, the astromer), and may have been a part of the Florentine Camerata.
  • His son (also named Alessandro Striggio) wrote the libretto for Monteverdi's Orfeo.
  • This work has been "lost" since the early 1700s - in a Paris library! To put it simply, it was miscatalogued - but the story is really more complicated than that. Read Moroney's lecture and you'll probably gain a little more respect for the challenges librarians can face!
Music History is far from being settled. Someone like Striggio doesn't make many history textbooks, but we are now finding out that he was a catalyst for large polychoral music throughout Europe. And we learn about the political role he played. With this discovery in place, and it triggering more puzzle pieces of history to be connected, will Striggio become a part of the canon of Western Music in textbooks of the future? He probably deserves to be. Now imagine that some of Indiana Jones' rivals wanted to find this work in the library before him...