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Giovanni Gabrieli

We do not know Giovanni Gabrieli’s precise date of birth, just as for his uncle Andrea. The hypotheses range between 1554 and 1557. The information about his life is equally scanty and rather uncertain. Jacob Fugger’s dedicatory epistle, which is a foreword to the edition of his concerts (1587) proves that his uncle Andrea took care of his music education. Young Giovanni must have stood out very early, since two of his madrigals were published in two anthological collections in 1575, when he was just eighteen years old. He spent all his life in Venice, except for a period of 4 years, between 1576 and 1580, when the plague ravaged the lagoon city and his uncle and legal guardian sent him to Munich to the court of Duke Albert of Bavaria.

There is evidence of Gabrieli's activity in the music chapel conducted by Orlando di Lasso, where he established some important professional relations. Although, he later decided never to leave his home town anymore, he was repeatedly invited to go back to Germany, where prestigious tasks were offered to him. Organist at Saint Mark’s Basilica from 1585, in that same year until 1606 he was also organist for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, while his close friendship with Andrea’s German pupils (in particular Hans Leo Hassler) contributed to successfully spreading his music in Germany.

Giovanni’s constantly growing reputation outside of Italy attracted a large number of foreigners to his school, including the greatest German musician of the following generation and his beloved pupil, Heinrich Schütz. We do not have any further biographic information until 1606, when we know that he was affected by a serious disease, which would cause his death on August 12, 1612.

With Giovanni Gabrieli, the introduction of instruments into the holy motet polyphonic thread, which was earlier exclusively for voices, reaches its perfection. We find a search for a new terminology, in order to define the written compositions of this new style: a cappella writing is finally left behind and the orchestra is raised to a condition of dignity matching that of the voices,thus resulting in the creation of the word Symphonia. In particular in the collection called Symphoniae sacrae, published after the author’s death in 1615, the instrumental language detaches itself, once and forever, from vocal parts, thus becoming totally autonomous and independent. Giovanni innovates and liberates the management of counterpoint and imitation: shorter parentheses, quite often not following the strictest rules - see, for instance, the many homophonous and practically chord-like passages which characterize his Magnificat - make it possible for Gabrieli to create, unlike the stern style of the past, an architecture made up of different dynamic and expressive plains, prefiguring a pictorial interpretation of verbal phrases and the chiaroscuro between sound volumes which do not oppose each other anymore, like in the Renaissance, but which now may even counter each other; this will be a typical feature of the late Baroque period.


Giovanni Gabrieli, Bartolomeo Barbarino: La Musica per San Rocco

On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Giovanni Gabrieli's death, who was one of the most influential musicians of the Venetian School, we are pleased to present you with this extraordinary recording of ''La Musica per San Rocco''.  ''La Musica per San Rocco'' can be imagined as a type of...
Preis: 17,00 €

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