Diogo Dias Melgaz is known as the last great master of the polyphonic tradition that flourished around the Cathedral of Évora. He was born in Cuba (a village in Alentejo) in 1638 and entered the Colégio dos Moços do Coro of Évora Cathedral around 1647. He succeeded his former master Bento Nunes Pegado, soon after 1663. In 1662 he was already Reitor of the Choir Boys College and also occupied the post of mestre da Claustra by this time. Melgaz was at least for a decade the central musical figure in Évora Cathedral occupying simultaneously the posts as master of the Chapel and the Claustra, and as Reitor of the Choir Boys College.Melgaz’s version of the Pentecost sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus is one of his few surviving works that points towards what will become known as the estilo concertado (concertant style or a development of the stile concertato) works of Roman inspiration practiced by composers of the Portuguese Royal Chapel in the time of King João V. This is also one of the few polychoral works with instrumental accompaniment by Melgaz.
This lively work, almost all based in shorth rhythmic figures, is scored for eight voices (SSAT/SATB) with an acompanhamento a 8 (accompaniment a 8), which suggests an organ line, although other instruments (as an harp) used in the Cathedral during Melgaz’s life could be involved. The work was mentioned by 18th-century historian Diogo Barbosa Machado in his Bibliotheca Lusitana as extant in the musical archive of Évora Cathedral but that manuscript is now lost. The only complete extant source is now preserved at the musical archive of Lisbon Cathedral although there is a reference to another incomplete copy at the Ducal Palace in Vila Viçosa.
This work was recorded by Coro da Sé Catedral do Porto, directed by Eugénio Amorim, with organist António Esteireiro, the only recording I know of this work.