The assumed amplitude and the duration in the European musical panorama from the Caecilian Movement are such that it is possible to characterize various phases of development and different results of the phenomenon. In Italy, the process of adhesion to the reform of sacred music is begun relatively late (1875/80) respect to other nations, but then it has prolonged until Vatican Council II. The richer period for the debate of the ideas and the programmatic choices corresponds, however, to the last quarter of XIX century, when, above all for merit of composers and active theorists in North-Oriental Italy, the reform made the requirement to re-examine the ancient one own, favouring the effort to recover and to render it puts into effect them the - Gregorian' monodic chant and the Renaissance polyphony.
The study returns on these problems in order to clear the reasons that have motivated aesthetic choices and operating modalities in the light of one new archive documentation, conserved in the Patriarchal Seminary of Venice, that it has allowed to read again the activity carried out from the Subsection Sacred Music of the Opera dei Congressi e dei Comitati cattolici in Italia (1874-1897), of which they have been main interpreters Giovanni Battista Candotti, Jacopo Tomadini, Guerrino Amelli, Rocco Rocchi, Antonio Bonuzzi, Giuseppe Barbieri, Giambattista Paganuzzi and Giuseppe Terrabugio, all assets, for reasons and with various roles, in Venetian area. The analysis of the material of the unknown archives has permission, in particular, to deepen the reasons of the crescent contrast between the requests of return to the past expressed from the supporters of the reform and the positions of one sceptical hierarchy in regard to the opportunity to restore the «gregoriano autentico».
The examination of documentation demonstrates as the cause of the return to the ancient one is emerged in all its tearing contradictions during the Catholic Conference of Vicenza (1891), finding then a intransigent defender in the composer Giovanni Tebaldini, assets between Venice and Padua (1889-1897). In the light of the correspondence and of the documentation rendered available from the Centro studi e ricerche "Giovanni Tebaldini" (Ascoli Piceno), has been possible to reconsider some positions of this militant musician, than diffuse the own ideas through the review «La scuola veneta di musica sacra», tied to the Società regionale veneta di San Gregorio. The periodical did not accommodate only the sour controversies primed from the musician, but it contributed also to develop to the comparison on the operating lines of the reform publishing a series of relative lessons of Luigi Bottazzo to the Gregorian chant and the organ, a wide critical analysis on sacred music of Charles Gounod and, above all, transcriptions of Renaissance Venetian music that Tebaldini was usual to propose during the liturgical celebrations and in the historical concerts.
In its engagement of recovery of the ancient one, Tebaldini met a valid and stimulating interlocutor in the Jesuit Angelo De Santi, the whose position was determining in order to fix the theoretical presupposed ones and methodological ones that started on solution the debate on the reform of sacred music in Italy, as it has been possible to verify through the perusal of the innumerable unknown papers guarded in the historical archives of «La civiltà cattolica» (Rome), putted to disposition for this study. The probably more important result of the research work consists in have characterized and discussed the role exercised from this Triestine intellectual of Mitteleuropean formation, that, strongly of a not common philosophical and theological preparation, it has known to act as an intermediary between the European musicology, the Regensburg's Kirchenmusikschule, the paleographical studies of the Benedictines of Solesmes and an Italian reality still somewhat uncertain in the field of the musicological disciplines. The Roman collection of letters, in particular, have allowed to reconstruct the relationships entertained from the De Santi with the main exponents of the movement, contributing to clear further the real motivations of the choices carried out from the musicians engaged in the reform. From the notes and the rough drafts, moreover, is emerged also the role of teacher of the Triestine Jesuit, represented above all from unknown and advanced (for Italy of the late 1800's) Metodo di canto gregoriano and from its up to now disowned musical production, but that very evidences the stylistic run undertaken in order to give again dignity to church music, rediscovering the lesson of the ancients.
Through the study and the scrupulous transcription of a huge unknown document size, of varied origin and destination, it has been therefore revisited understood it problematic of the history of sacred music in Italy, connecting between they a various personality and experiences but all convergent towards the objective of recovery of ancient music, pursued from the Caecilian Movement of Venetian area with particular determination. The reasons, the results caught up and the limits expressed from that operation, than were proposed to renew liturgical music often in opened opposition with the new languages of the art, emerge from the careful reading of the archives testimonies and from the locked comparison with a width and heterogeneous bibliography that, finally, have allowed to face the issue with method and objectivity, beyond preconceived ideological positions.