Reggio.stemma


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Rome

1763-


Little is known about Reggio after 1763 when he apparently became Monsignor. He begins to compose again, writing arias dedicated to Roman nobility, especially the surviving daughters of the late Marchese Astalli.


These were written during the period 1763-1774.There is  a further cantata, two arias and a motet. The cantata is a setting of ‘Le Grazie Vendicate’ for two sopranos and alto  and dated 1763. The following year an aria,’ 'Se del fiume altera l'onda', was dedicated: ‘…'Per la Sigra Marchese Prudenza Astalli'   followed in 1764 by a ‘scena’ and aria, 'Misero me qual vero aspetto' and 'Andar vorrei ma come' for soprano and orchestra. The final composition included in the manuscript is a setting of the 'Jube domne benedicere’,  dated 1766, for soprano and organ. Another work, an aria, 'Mio ben ricordati' is dated 1764 and set for soprano and strings. This is dedicated; ‘ per la Sigra Marchesa Giacinta Astalli’.


The last of the arias appear in 1767, indeed the last known vocal work that Reggio composed. This is a manuscript of twenty arias for four voices, three sopranos and a contralto. The work is dedicated to
Laura, Prudenza and Giacinta Astalli. From the previous works it is reasonable to assume the contralto was Giacinta and Laura and Prudenza were the sopranos. The third soprano has yet to be identified.

In 1770 Reggio is mentioned by the English musician and writer Dr Charles Burney his book, ‘The Present State of Music in France and Italy’, published in 1792. Burney was visiting France and Italy to collect information for his book on the History of Music.

Burney met Reggio through his connections with the English nobility resident in Rome. Burney mentions Reggio in detail twice in his publication and a further two times in his unpublished notes.

 

He first mentions a visit to Monsignor Reggio in an entry dated Wednesday 26th September. He describes Reggio as ‘likewise a pretty good composer and performer on the harpsichord and violoncello.’ He also mentions that Reggio had two or three ‘delicate-toned’ harpsichords and that he owned ‘a good library’. During this visit he also meets ‘an old Abate belonging to the Vatican with whom he discussed ‘ancient music and Mss.’ He makes the point that this visit had been orchestrated well before hand.

 

In a general discussion and summing up of his visit to Rome, his experiences and the people he met Burney makes a specific point about Reggio;

 

‘I am indebted for some curious compositions and for the conversations of several persons in Rome, eminent for their skill in the art, and learning in the science of sound; among whom … Monsignor Reggio.’

 
Later, Burney writes generally of Italian performers, discusses the state of Italian harpsichords, and admits being disappointed by Italian harpsichords and players.

Burney is wont to criticise anything that was not English. Probably he was used to hearing English harpsichords which had a rich and mellow tone. The Italian harpsichord had a rich wiry tone which he was probably unaccustomed to. He does, however, make some positive observations in which Reggio is mentioned again;

‘The best Italian harpsichord which I met with… for tone, that of   Monsignor Reggio at Rome.’

 A fourth meeting occurred on Burney’s return to Rome from a visit to Naples. On the 14th November he visited Reggio where he met the Custode of the Barbarini library.

Reggio appeared to be well-known to the English nobility resident in Rome during this period and appears to have left a lasting impression on Burney. So much so that he thought him worthy of note to include the observations in the published, edited, version (1772) of his journal as well as in the revised reprint of 1773.

After 1770 Reggio starts to compose keyboard sonatas and sonatas for violoncello and lute.The manuscript of keyboard sonatas dated 1774 appears to be the last known work to be composed by Reggio.

Reference to Reggio as a Sicilian and to his prowess as a musician is also contained in a letter, written in 1807, addressed to an anonymous friend by the poet and writer Giovanni Gherado De Rossi. 

 De Rossi mentions a Sicilian Prelate Monsignor Reggio in an appraisal of the life of Maria Pizzelli- Coccuvilla. Maria Pizzelli ran one of the most famous salons in Rome from an apartment in the Palazzo Bolognetti, during the so-called, ‘Age of Enlightenment’ which attracted many famous philosophers, artists and writers of the period.  He states that Reggio was a close friend of Pizzelli and that he helped her to develop her musical skills.

 De Rossi describes Reggio as: a man of great intellect, erudite, and very deep in music.’ He goes on to say: ‘He was her [Pizzelli] teacher, and in a short time the talented pupil became capable of overcoming the difficulties of the Art and to learn the abstruse rules’.

The date of Reggio's demise has not yet been established.











Issue 1 14/01/11                                                          Anthony Hart  2011