Faithful to the old Latin maxim qui cantat bis orat (the person who sings is praying twice) the Mdina Cathedral endeavoured to enrich its liturgical celebrations with music of the highest quality. At first the Cathedral Chapter imported qualified directors from Sicily, but later sponsored promising Maltese candidates to study in the conservatories of Sicily and Naples, and to employ them to direct the cappella musicale of the Cathedral, performing their own compositions. In this way a musical archive of the highest quality was built up and conserved in the Church’s lower sacristy. This collection which survived the earthquake of 1693 contains many unique printed and manuscript scores as well as the scores of the earliest known Maltese composers.
As from January 1968 the musical archives were opened for public research in the newly restored palace of the Old Seminary in Mdina, with a small selection of scores displayed in a showcase. This gesture was so much appreciated that a number of persons who had family ownership of collections of musical archives in their families were all too happy to donate them to the Cathedral archives, convinced that these would in future be properly conserved and studied. This was the case of one living composer and music director, Mro Paul Nani, as well as the relatives