The Palatine Musical Choir

It was instituted in 1372 to accompany the Gonfaloniere's parade. The “Musica lucanis comunis”, in the end of the 14th century, was composed by five trumpets, a deep trumpet, two timpanists and four tabors, all salaried monthly with three gold florins. Paolo Guinigi didn't change its structure, made of sharp timbre instruments that were appropriate to play outside. In 1490 six cantors were appointed. They probably were students of the british polyphonist John Hothby, who lived in Lucca for 18 years. The instrumental group, guided by Nicolao Dorati since 1543, acquired a more modern appearance: only one person in charge, five trumpets and from five to nine cantors and instrumentalist. They had to play at the parades, at the Elder's lunch, during the most important religious functions, at the Tasche, for the citizens and every night under the loggias of the Podestà's Palace in Piazza San Michele. The band became a way for exchange of diplomatic courtesies. In 1585 the Elders sent their musicians to the marriage between the Duke Carlo Emanuele of Savoia and Caterina, Filippo II's daughter. In 1607 the Duke of Savoia requested the Choir again. In the XVII century string instrument players were added to the group. In the end of the 18th century, the Choir reached its peak under the guide of Giacomo Puccini senior. In this period he had more than twenty instrumentalists and cantors playing around 600 performances in a year. This institution's longevity justifies the fact that Lucca gave birth to a lot of great musicians like Cristoforo Malvezzi, Gioseffo Guami, Francesco Saverio Gemignani, Luigi Boccherini and others directly involved in the Palazzo's musical activities. The Republic's musical Choir was abolished in 1806 by the Baciocchi family.


Some of the musical pieces, written for commemotative events at Palazzo Ducale are:

  • John Hothby (1410c. - 1487) “Diva Panthera”;
  • Francesco Guami (Master of the Choir from 1598 to 1602) “Ricercar XIII”;
  • Luigi Boccherini (cello player for the Choir from 1764 to 1779) “La confederazione dei Sabini con Roma”, for the first day of Le Tasche in 1765;
  • G. Puccini senior (Master of the Choir) “Kirie” and “Messa a quattro voci con violini a beneplacido”, written for the Elders;