The University of Louisville Music Library is the repository of some 400 manuscripts and prints of music, and a number of music books, collected between about 1750 and 1860 by three branches of the Ricasoli family of the high nobility of Florence. Largely a performing collection, the scores and pedagogical books were used in the Ricasoli residences and chapels by family members and the musicians they employed. Amounting to over 1,400 compositions, there are operas, oratorios, masses, organ toccatas, sacred and secular songs, ballet music, sinfonias, concertos, violin and keyboard sonatas, sonatas, variations, character pieces, and opera transcriptions for keyboard alone, works for piano four-hands, and harp compositions. Many scores are by Tuscan composers, and a considerable number are autographs. In several of the manuscripts alterations and performance indications are visible.
Principal composers represented in the collection include Handel, Marcello, Pergolesi, Jommelli, J. C. Bach, Pleyel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Clementi, Dussek, Guglielmi, Mysliveček, Paisiello, Rossini, Mayr, Paer, Cimarosa, Cherubini, Kozeluch, Schroeter, Vanhal, and Wagenseil, among others. Some of the Tuscan composers are Barbieri, Buccioni, Campion, Favier, B. Felici, A. Felici, Giuliani, Ligniville, Mabellini, Magnelli, Meucci, Moneta, Panerai, Pelleschi, G. M. Rutini, Gaspero Sborgi, Gaetano Sborgi, Sodi, and Valenti.
Acquired by the University of Louisville Music Library in the 1980s, with great assistance from Robert Lamar Weaver, it is the only collection of its kind, place, and time to have survived and be made available to the public. The collection was the subject of an international conference in 1989, and has brought distinction to both the library and the School of Music.
The collection is the subject of the 2012 publication The Music Library of a Noble Florentine Family: A Catalogue Raisonné of Manuscripts and Prints of the 1720s to the 1850s collected by the Ricasoli Family now housed in the University of Louisville Music Library. Edited by Susan Parisi and compiled by John Karr, Caterina Pampaloni, and Robert Lamar Weaver, this catalog contains detailed descriptions, incipits, and historical information on every score in the collection.
The Ricasoli Collection is currently in the process of being digitized and made available to the public via OCLC Worldcat and the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP). The collection is also indexed in the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) database.