The Tagliavini collection and music archive are housed in one of the most ancient churches in Bologna, St. Columban. The church complex was founded in 616 by Bishop Peter, a disciple of Columban, Irish monk and saint.
The collection, donated by the heirs of Professor Oscar Mischiati, consists in about seventy ancient musical instruments, all in perfect working order, which span from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Some are extremely rare pieces, such as the "harpsichord with hammers and feathers" by Giovanni Ferrini (1746) and a folding harpsichord from the early 1800s.
The instruments have been restored with great care, for the most part in Bologna by the "Masters of wood", Arnaldo Boldrini and Renato Carnevali, whose work transformed the collection pieces into playable "monuments to sound".
The Bolognese and Neapolitan schools were particularly excellent—and well represented in the collection—the first for the organs and harpsichords from the 17th and 18th century as well as 19th century pianos, the second for harpsichords and spinets of 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
The Roman school is represented by two harpsichords and a small, seventeenth century spinet, the Venetian school by two sixteenth century harpsichords and the Florentine school displays one of the last Italian harpsichords, by Vincenzio Sodi (1791-92) and the above mentioned harpsichord by Giovanni Ferrini.
The most important instruments come from the major European capitals. Of mention are an ‘Italian’ spinet by Louis Denis (Paris, 1681), two table-top pianos built respectively in London and in Amsterdam in 1786, and from the nineteenth century, two Viennese grand pianos, a tiny "semi-inclined" piano bench fashioned in Paris and a grand piano from Berlin, circa 1866. And there are other curious, unique musical instruments, such as the "crystal piano" by Joseph Bisogno (Naples, 1860) and a "Dulcitone" that produces sound with felt-covered hammers striking a series of tuning forks (Glasgow, Thomas Matchell, c. 1910). Finally, the exhibit includes a collection of mechanized, self-playing instruments, organs, pianos, musical boxes.
The collection continues acquiring new pieces, and thanks to the generous donation of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation in Bologna, it is permanently on display in the renovated St. Columban Church complex.
Combined and single tickets are available for all museums of Genus Bononiae. Info (in Italian) on www.genusbononiae.it
Palazzo Pepoli. Museo della Storia di Bologna, Palazzo Fava. Palazzo delle Esposizioni, San Colombano. Collezione Tagliavini, Santa Maria della Vita are part of the Musei Metropolitani Card circuit. details