Honoring God and the City presents the first detailed history of musical activities at Venetian lay confraternities, societies that were crucial to the cultural and ceremonial life of Venice. Based on over two decades of research in Venetian archives, musicologist Jonathan Glixon traces musical practices from the origins of the earliest confraternities in the mid-thirteenth century to their suppression under the French and Austrian governments in the early nineteenth century. Glixon first discusses the scole grandi, the largest and most important of the Venetian confraternities. Scole grandi hosted some of the most elaborate musical events in the Venetian calendar, including lavish annual festivities for each scola's patron saint and often enlisting such high-profile musicians as Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi. Glixon places detailed descriptions of these events in the context of the scole grandi's long histories, as the roles of salaried musicians, singers, string players, and organists evolved over the centuries. The book's second part is concerned with the scole piccole, the numerous smaller confraternities born in churches throughout Venice.
These local organizations, usually consisting of a modest number of salaried musicians augmented by hired players, took part in annual festivities and performances and played a crucial role in local cultural life. Detailed appendixes include a calendar of musical events at all Venetian confraternities in the early eighteenth century and a complete listing of musicians for an important seventeenth century festival. The result of painstaking research, Honoring God and the City demonstrates the vital role of confraternities in the musical and ceremonial life of Venice.