The majority of Reggio’s original works are held in the Santini Collection in the Diözensanbibliothek, Münster. It is possible that Santini acquired Reggio’s library on Reggio’s death. These consist of sixteen manuscripts comprising some 180 individual works, which date between 1745 and 1774. No other work has yet been found which post dates the 1774 manuscript. Reggio would only have been forty nine and it seems strange that no more works have been found. His early works range from sacred works, such as masses, oratorios and sacred songs, to aria settings of texts by Metastasio. His later works, from about 1770, consist of sonatas for cembalo, works for two violoncelli and sonatas for lute and bass.
The sonatas for cembalo consist of two movements and appear, from the limited work carried out to date, to be of a style which was popular a decade or two earlier. The works for lute and bass (violoncello?) are interesting as the lute was going out of fashion at this time.
The majority of Reggio’s works, found to date, are in manuscript form. It does, however, appear that six of the keyboard sonata was published. In Breitkopf’s Thematic catalogue, published between 1762 and 1787, is listed: ‘VI Sonate di Antonio REGGIO, a Cembalo Solo. Amsterd’. This appears in the supplement dated 1772.
Monsignor Antonino Reggio was born in Aci Catena, a commune in the region of Catania in Sicily, in 1725 and died, possibly in Rome in the first quarter of the 1800’s. Unfortunately the date of his demise has yet to be established. He was a priest, later a Monsignor in Rome and a member of a cadet branch of the Sicilian noble family, the Principi di Campofiorito.
In 1753 Reggio was assigned to the Apostolic Nuncio in Portugal. His duties were as courier to the Nuncio. Reggio, who was based in Rome, was entrusted with the task of carrying back to Lisbon the cardinal’s ‘Beretta’ to Cardinal Tempi as a notification of his promotion.
He possibly remained as courier to the new Nuncio, Fillipo Accioili, who returned to Rome in 1759 after being expelled due to his interference in the problems with the suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal. He was raised to the position of monsignor after Accioili’s appointment as cardinal. In 1763 Reggio relinquished his status of Abate with the monastery of Sant’Angelo di Brolo, a ‘benefici ecclesiastici’ in the region of Messina in Sicily.
Whilst in Rome he was visited several times by Dr. Charles Burney, who described him as ‘likewise a pretty good composer and performer on the harpsichord and violoncello’ and in a summing up of his visit he mentions Reggio again; ‘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’.
Reggio is also mentioned by the Roman poet and writer Giovanni Gherado De Rossi (1754–1827). De Rossi describes Reggio as ‘a man of great intellect, erudite, and very deep in music.’