For over 60 years the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) and its working groups around the world have been compiling an inventory of musical sources preserved in libraries, archives, monasteries or private collections. The cataloguing activity of the RISM is fundamental work with a primarily scientific scope, but the RISM also aims to bring to light lesser known repertoires and works.
Each musical source is unique and an integral part of our cultural heritage. However, some are more remarkable than others. This is the case for a printed musical edition contained in a miscellaneous volume held in the Municipality of Zuoz, which is outstanding in several respects. On the one hand it constitutes, according to the current inventory of the RISM, the one and only copy of this edition still in existence. It is singular also for the fact that its history is known. The collection was purchased in Amsterdam in 1707 by Balthasar Planta, who presumably brought it back to the mountains of the Grisons, where it was part of the local repertoire for several decades. It is remarkable too for its contents: illustrious madrigals by Luca Marenzio, enhanced by a continuo bass line added according to the practice of the time.
By participating in this recording, RISM Switzerland highlights a unique and emblematic example of the richness of our archives that fully illustrates how musical sources allow music to cross borders and to travel through time.