edited by Michael Talbot
(Musica Benedictina, 4)
in collaboration with:
Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia
Abbazia di Santa Maria Assunta, Praglia
Diogenio Bigaglia (1678–1745), whose life and music are at last becoming better known today, was a Venetian amateur composer whose talent equalled that of the three more eminent composers contemporary with him belonging to the same category: Tomaso Albinoni and the Marcello brothers Alessandro and Benedetto. From 1694 until his death he was a monk at the Benedictine (Cassinese) abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore in his native city, well enough regarded there to serve at different times as Prior and Cellarer. Fortunately, his fellow monks appear to have taken pride in his musical accomplishments and the circulation of his compositions among connoisseurs throughout Europe. Bigaglia’s compositional output includes sacred vocal music (oratorios, Masses, psalm settings, motets), secular vocal music (serenatas, chamber duets, cantatas, canzonettas) and instrumental music (concertos, sonatas). His twelve-movement setting of the Vesper psalm Dixit Dominus for soloists, choir, trumpet, strings and basso continuo, composed around 1700, may well be his earliest preserved work in any genre. Musically, it looks both back to the idiom of the later Seicento (Cavalli, Legrenzi) and forward to that of the early Settecento (Lotti, Vivaldi). Many attributes of the mature composer – in particular, an inventive use of the instruments, a liking for recondite contrapuntal devices and a penchant for humour – already appear in this spacious setting, alternately imposing and intimate, which makes a strong case for a future collected edition of Bigaglia’s works.