Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612)
Canzoni et Sonate, 1615
The Canzoni et sonate per sonar con ogni sorte de instrumenti date back to 1615: thus three years after his death, Gabrieli is commemorated by one of the very rare publications entirely dedicated to him. There are 17 canzonas (one for 5 voices, three for 6 and 7, six for 8, two for 10 and 12) and 4 sonatas (for 14, 15, and 22 voices, and the last for three violins). It is surprising that the other eight-voice canzona of the preceding collection is not reprinted here, considering that the two pieces are the underlying idiomatic basis of this new antho logy. There is an intimate relationship between these works and the motets of the same year: all of them, in their magnificence, celebrate the glory of the Venetian state. The contrast between the polyphonic and chordal moments of the first canzona develops here into a contest between the more “soloistic” sections in duet with the bass and the ripieno of the 22 voices. The contrast between ternary and binary rhythms is associated with the multiple exposition and to an ever-expanding development, while the devices of rhythmic and melodic augmentation, diminution, inversion and alteration are strengthened by the particular use of motifs based on the triad, which increasingly give a character of modern tonality to Gabrieli’s music. From this point of view, the old blends with the new: the division of the orchestral forces into multiple choirs, on the one hand, confirms a respectful attitude toward tradition while, on the other, it provides an incentive toward that experimentation which is so evident in the Sonatta a tre violini, an exemplary model of the new instrumental composi tions of the Seicento.