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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli

Author(s): Egon F. Kenton

Source: The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (Oct., 1962), pp. 427-443
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/740294
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IT is now three hundred and fifty years that Giovanni Gabrieli,

after long suffering from a painful illness, was buried in Santo
Stefano in Venice. In his last years, he was frequently unable to perform
his duties as organist at San Marco, and his pupils - notably Giovanni
Paolo de Savii, who was to succeed him - had to perform in his place.
Undoubtedly he was dissatisfied with this state of affairs; he complained
about the parlous condition of the choir also, and told the ambassador
of Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, that the chapel of San Marco
was going to pieces.' He did not mention the fact that the maestri di
cappella in these years were far below the standard established earlier
by Willaert or Zarlino. A year after his death, following the memo-
randum of Federico Contarini, Procurator of San Marco, suggesting
that Venice must look outside the Republic for a maestro to raise the
chapel to its former excellence, Claudio Monteverdi was appointed to
direct it, and Monteverdi carried the famed cappella once more to new

It is only natural that a young and energetic man with the talent
of Monteverdi composed his own music for the great festivities of the
1 A. Bertolotti, Musica alla corte dei Gonzaga in Mantua, dal secolo XV al
secolo XVIII, Milan, 1890, p. 87.


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428 The Musical Quarterly
Church and of the Republic, and probably ceased to
of his predecessor that had reverberated previously
vaults and cupolas of the basilica on such occasions.
strange that Monteverdi, whose letters easily com
Mozart in breadth of scope, should not even have m
of Gabrieli. Perhaps this is understandable neverthe
Monteverdi would have become a great composer ev
heard any of Gabrieli's later music, there can b
adopted some of the features that made Gabriel
novel, and it is impossible to assume that he wa
took a trip to Florence to hear the new dramma in
acquainted with the music composed and played
followed attentively the latest developments, and e
a book on his seconda prattica, as he mentioned
October 22, 1633.2

Monteverdi's Sonata sopra Sancta Maria ora pro n

to the musical world. We have several modern editi
several phonograph recordings. There is a compo
Gabrieli that is surprisingly similar in many asp
Jesu, patris imago for twenty voices, which bears
con voci.3 In one of the many innovations of the B
change of vocal with instrumental idioms - Gabr
pated Monteverdi. The multisectional form of t
the echo style of the villotta dialogata (and even its
nio, or final section) as well as the style of the m
the idiom of the organ (among other instrument
symphonia, all appear in choral works by Gabrieli;
sonata is applied by him to a composition including
for the church - even if it is not liturgical, only de
preserved in a single complete manuscript copy in
of Kassel, has been described by a scholar who
precursor of Monteverdi's Sonata sopra Sancta
according to Redlich, in the year of its publicati
Gabrieli's Sonata con voci may have been compos
2 D. De'Paoli, Claudio Monteverdi, Milan, 1945, p. 295 f
SChristiane Engelbrecht, Die Kasseler Hofkapelle im 17.
1958, p. 67 ff.
4 Idem, Eine Sonata con voce von Giovanni Gabrieli, in
bericht 1956, Kassel, 1957.
5 H. F. Redlich, Claudio Monteverdi, London, 1949, p. 4
6 C. Engelbrecht, Die Kasseler Hofkapelle, p. 70.

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 429

Be that as it may, a study of his posthumously published compos

the Symphoniae sacrae and Canzoni e sonate, clearly shows that D
Jesu belongs to Gabrieli's late style, and that it is one of the l
solutions of his problem: the most effective use of the musical m
present in the Basilica of San Marco. (It should have been inc
in the Symphoniae sacrae, Liber secundus, but the editor of that v
Aluigi Grani, seems to have hoped to be able to publish more.)'
It is in the late works of Gabrieli that we must look for his real
historical importance. The bulk of these compositions was published in
1615, in three collections: Symphoniae sacrae, Liber secundus, Venice,
Gardano; Canzoni et sonate, Venice, Gardano (both "Aere B. Magni")
and Reliquiae sacrorum concentum, Nuremberg, P. Kaufmann. To
these must be added a few manuscript copies made by Heinrich Schiitz,
Christoph Cornet, and Christoph Kegel, all three of whom were sent
by the Landgrave Moritz von Hessen to study with Gabrieli in Venice.
(Of the forty compositions by Gabrieli listed in an inventory of 1638
at the Library of the Kassel Court, many have disappeared. A number
were published in or belong to his early years.8) Whether published or
still in manuscript, these works are little known. Compositions are im-
portant historically when they contain innovations that carry the evo-
lution of music one or more steps further, and that are adopted by
other composers immediately or gradually. In Gabrieli's late style we
find manifold innovations, all of which were adopted by other com-
posers sooner or later. These innovations may be classified in the cate-
gories of terminology, form, tonality, technique, instrumentation, and

Compositions of the 16th century fall mainly into three categories:

Mass, motet, and madrigal (chanson). By the end of the 16th century,
Mass compositions, especially in Venice, diminished in number. (Gio-
vanni Gabrieli left only two incomplete settings. This is, however, an
extreme case, and is the consequence of his special function, that of a
composer entrusted by the authorities with the composition of festival
pieces for extraordinary events and great holidays.) The motet, from
the 15th century on, had only one text in Latin, but the topic of the
text could be secular as well as religious, and could commemorate an
7"cum ista, turn alia plura colligendi et edendi facultatem accepi . G.
Gabrieli, Symphoniae sacrae, 1615, dedication.
8 Engelbrecht, Die Kasseler Hofkapelle, p. 177 f.

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430 The Musical Quarterly
extraordinary event, such as the consecration of a
affair. In the late 16th century, in Venice, there s
been doubts in the mind of Gabrieli whether a d
his Sacri di Giove augei should be called a motet. It
- being a glorification of the house of Fugger, the
princes--and for twelve voices. It was published
heading of madrigals, with which it has hardly any
Gabrieli must have pondered about the obsolete ter
need to coin new terms for the new kind of music
chose the term concerto as title for the collection of Andrea's and his
own works that he published in 1587.' That he applied the new term
tentatively appears from the subhead "continenti musica di chiesa,
madrigali, et altro." He also must have known the instrumental collec-
tion of Andrea, Sonate a cinque strumenti, 1586, of which we have
only indirect evidence."1 At first, Giovanni was inclined to use the term
sonata only for instrumental works. Two sonate appear in the Sacrae
symphoniae of 1597, but he composed more of them as time went on,
and five were published in the Canzoni et sonate of 1615. They range
for from eight to twenty-two voices.

These instrumental sonate differ from the canzoni da sonar not only
in name. It hardly needs arguing that Gabrieli would not have given
the title sonata to two pieces among fourteen called canzon had he not
felt that they were different enough to require a different name. If we
encounter statements that there is not much difference between the two
kinds, the reason is that this is the opinion of scholars who see the music
of the past as a preparation for the advent of Bach, and from that
point of view the difference is indeed minimal. But we must forget
about subsequent music and try to understand Gabrieli's reasons. For
him the need of a change of designation must have arisen from a change
in function. The function of his many-voiced instrumental pieces was
to alternate with the sung parts of the Mass or of Vespers. We can
deduce from the preserved works of his time, as well as from sporadic
remarks, that the Ordinary of the Mass was more conservative as to
the number of voices and the length of the music than the parts of the
Proper, and that choral music alternated with instrumental music, just
as it had done earlier. While it alternated earlier - and in his time in
smaller churches - exclusively with the organ, Gabrieli composed spec-
9 Concerti di Andrea et di Gio. Gabrieli, Venice, 1587, Gardano.
10 Listed in C. F. Becker's Die Tonwerke des 16.ten und 17.ten Jahrhunderts,
Leipzig, 1855.

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 431
tacular instrumental ensemble pieces for the great holidays of t
ecclesiastical year and the great festivals of the Republic, to alterna
in San Marco with the parts that were sung.

The first two sonate show at a glance that they are different. Th
well-known Sonata pian e forte" has no canzon subject, nor any othe
recognizable melodic subject. It consists mainly of brooding harmon
alternating in the two choirs; these join in a full choir of eight voic
at the end. The Sonata octavi toni,'2 on the other hand, has a beautif
melodic theme, which, in contrast to an open canzon or ricercar subje
is closed; it returns to the tonic. Adriano Banchieri advised his c
leagues to play "una suonata grave" at the Elevation;13 this was s
years after Gabrieli's sonate were published and thus points - as
most of Banchieri's recommendations - to an established practice. Th
function of these sonate, then, was to avoid the irreligious thoug
associations of a canzon at the moment when the congregation's atte
tion is called to the mysterium fidei. Banchieri also said that this suo
grave should last "fin al Paternoster."

The difference between Gabrieli's canzoni and sonate is not limited

of course to the thematic material alone. It is apparent in their textures
and forms also. Imitation and polyphony are almost completely absent
in the sonate, as is the kaleidoscopic succession of short sections. Even
the Sonata: octavi toni, which starts with a dactylic rhythm, is largely
homophonic and more unified than the canzoni. The essence of the
canzon da sonar is variety, and the unity prevailing in these first two
sonate amply justifies the new term. It is clear that the composer, in
creating a new, unified, composition, felt that he must designate it
with a new name.

We leave the sonata for a moment now to turn to another new

term introduced by Gabrieli: the symphonia sacra. We have already
noted that the term motet did not mean very much in the last quarter
of the 16th century. A work so called could be sacred or secular, poly-
phonic or homophonic, as long as it had a Latin text. A Gabrielian
"motet" was not a madrigal. Was it "musica di chiesa"? Was it "et
altro"? It is clear that it was very different from what Palestrina called
a motet. Gabrieli composed church music on the same texts as Pale-
11 Istituzioni e monumenti dell'arte musicale italiana, Milan, 1932, II, 64. This
edition contains all the instrumental ensemble works Gabrieli published in 1597.
12 Loc. cit., p. 270.
13 A. Banchieri, L'Organo suonarino, Venice, 1638 (1st ed. 1605), p. 28.

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432 The Musical Quarterly
strina, without any cantus firmi, without any allus
material, without points of imitation, but with
participation and a novel technique to be described
a definition, must be short, and cannot allude to
music. A choice had to be made. Gabrieli chose one
the greatest difference that can be heard, the aband
performance and introduction of orchestral part
his church music symphoniae. Since the texts we
or devotional, he published them under the title
At first, he left the instrumental participation to
conductor. Later, he wrote out purely instrumenta
ludes he named sinfonie. Finally, he composed la
his many-voiced sonate, and in which he included a
a short sacred text - the sonata con voci.

Like Gabrieli's innovations in terminology, his innovations in for

are closely connected with the changes in the function of his music.
a young organist-composer, bearer of an already famous name at San
Marco, he was at first content to live up to the expectations attached
to his name and to the reputation of the long line of organist-compos
active at that court chapel. He composed more or less short pieces fo
the organ and short rather than long choral works, to alternate in t
service. Most of the organ works could be played by an ensemble
four melody instruments also - they are rather clearly in four part
and some of them are published in that form.'4 The vocal as well
the instrumental works rarely go beyond eight parts. Those that
however, reveal the astonishing ideas of the young composer-- id
he realized fully in later years, in his works for ten to twenty-two pa
In these late works he achieves unity of form by repeating the first
section and adding a coda; by recapitulating a section one or mo
times; by recapitulating the first section at the end; by repeating th
last section; by recapitulating a section in contrasting meter ritorne
fashion; and by using the initial subject, rhythmically augmented, a
coda. He used the divided-choir technique to obtain an effective d
tribution of registers and sound masses, which in turn articulates audi
the structure of the music. An endless variety of forms was gained fr
the mixing of these devices.
14 In Canzoni per sonore con ogni sorte di stromenti, Venice, 1608.

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 433
It is normally assumed that such devices are necessary in indepen
dent instrumental music - music that has no connection with a text
or with dancing or marching - to shape it into a form without which
it would remain an amorphous mass instead of a work of art; and
that such devices are not necessary in vocal music, the form of which
is to a certain extent determined by the text. This is true in many cases.
When the composer, however, treats the text in the same way as his
music - reiterating sentences or words, recapitulating parts of them -
the form of the vocal pieces too will be determined by the composer,
and it will be equally arbitrary. And it seems that Gabrieli frequently
derived the formal devices for his vocal works from his instrumental

Looking at his earliest published instrumental canzoni (1597), one

cannot fail to see the various modifications applied by Gabrieli to the
form of the canzon da sonar. To the usual succession of sections of
indeterminate number, order, or length, invariably in duple time, Ga-
brieli added such refinements as the recapitulation of different sections
at different points, repetition of the first or the last section, and inter-
polation of one or more sections in triple time. But he composed earlier
ones that were not published until 1608,'" and in one of them, the
Canzon La Spiritata, we find an interpolated ternary section that is
homophonic and has a quasi ostinato bass; in another section a purely
harmonic bass appears; and the final section is repeated. These fea-
tures reappear, in more refined application, in both the vocal and
instrumental pieces of 1597. The same 1608 print contains two instru-
mental ensemble pieces, the canzoni Fa sol la re and Sol sol la sol fa mi,
the stylistic and formal influence of which appears in the late works,
such as Cantate Domino a 8 or Hodie completi sunt a 8 - the first
paraphrasing the melody of canzon Fa sol la re, the second adopting
the Fa sol la re bass integrally, in their respective ternary ritornels -
and In ecclesiis a 14 or Jubilate Deo a 18, which adopt the rondo form
of canzon Sol sol la sol fa mi. These influences appear as well in the late
instrumental ensemble pieces. An exception to instrumental derivation
is the Alleluja, which Gabrieli likes to employ in a form-giving role -
as a coda or as a ritornel, often in ternary meter.

Here are some examples of late vocal works that show the use of
formal devices born of Gabrieli's instrumental music. The end of Timor

1s In the print indicated in note 14. Concerning their probable date (1580),
see Einstein's foreword to his edition of Canzoni a 4, Mainz, 1932.

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434 The Musical Quarterly
et tremor a 6, in which the music follows rather stri
suitable for musical treatment (and Gabrieli mad
opportunity!) until the last prayer, non confundar
he made into a coda rich in contrast: the first tw
meter and chromatic, the last two in binary met
whole repeated. Or Hodie completi sunt a 8, the
far as possible from what is called good poesia pe
brieli employed purely abstract musical means borr
canzoni, to make the work interesting and indee
variety galore: change of meter, of motifs, of regi
and of idiom. There are dramatic silences between t
contrasting meters, contrasts between long soft an
hammered out by the two choirs in antiphony. In
esque rhythm (dies pentecostes), there is dance
identical with that in Sonata XIII a 8 of 1615. There are harmonic
sequences borrowed from his ricercars and an organ-toccata-coda with
pedal point. (All this is sung.) This choral piece has the form of a
multisectional canzon. Equally varied and colorful is O Jesu mi dul
cissime a 8, where the entire first section is entrusted to one four-par
choir, and the second choir does not answer or imitate but bring
entirely new music for the second text-section. After a pause the full
eight voices cry out O Christe twice. The main body of the piece pre-
sents six different sections in antiphonal technique and leads to th
crowning finale on the words ut veneremur coelites set in ternary mete
for the two choirs in quick alternations and repeated, to end with
slow binary coda with the augmented motif of coelites, and repeating
the word several times in echo fashion.

There is a type in which the ternary section is not reserved for the
end but interrupts the flow of the music repeatedly as a ritornel. It
may be an Alleluja, as in In ecclesiis a 14, where it returns five times
to broaden out into binary meter as a coda. It may be reserved for the
end, but sometimes it is linked with a binary section and repeated, as
in Timor et tremor. In Jubilate Deo a 816 the words servite Domino are
set in binary meter, and in laetitia in ternary. The combined section is
repeated three times, and a coda follows on the same words--much
as in an 18th-century operatic ensemble finale. This finale is preceded,
16 One of the four different settings by Giovanni to four text-variants. It needs
no stressing that when an occasion for rejoicing arose--this seems to have been
for the coronation of "La Morosina" as dogaressa - Gabrieli would be commissioned
to write a Jubilate.

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 435
however, by an almost true rondo, for the initial section on the
Jubilate Deo omnis terra returns three times before the finale.

A study of Gabrieli's works, instrumental or vocal, sacred or se

impresses the student mainly by the experimental attitude they
Gabrieli was never satisfied with a happy solution. Even if h
ostensibly satisfied - to judge by his repeated use of them -
melodic or rhythmic expression, with a combination of voice reg
or with a structure, he made changes in them, and tried a dif
solution in one or more respects." The use of the Alleluja as a
contrasting with the neighboring sections by being ternary, chor
from the point of view of the text an interjection, is therefore n
But Gabrieli felt the need of a ritornel in many cases where the A
does not fit into the text, and set other words in ternary me
chordally for this purpose. In some cases the words were as
(musically) as Alleluja, e.g. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gabrieli di
hesitate, however, to use other words, less apt for the role,
wanted a ternary section. Thus, in Hodie Christus natus est
the end of which the doxology furnishes a ready-made coda (tern
he wished to set off the initial announcement of the great news
short ternary interjection, and used the words hodie in terra. Else
he has exsultemus et laetemur in ea, or fastidiosos divites, etc.

As we have seen, Gabrieli's experiments in form can be fou

his early works, right from the beginning.'8 But it is only natur
assume that a creative artist who inclines to innovation and e
mentation, who is never content to settle down with a formula and
continue repeating it, must be driven by his genius to go to faraway
territories to find new ingredients, and to return with some astounding
novelty. The publication as early as 1587 of a piece for eight voices
divided into two choirs and designated as "per cantar et sonar" must
have been unprecedented. It is fully texted, and it is not a canzon
francese such as were published by the hundreds at that time. Nor is
it a madrigal. It is almost entirely chordal. In one word, Gabrieli
transferred the antiphonal technique, used heretofore only in motets,
to a secular piece; moreover, he said that it could be played on
instruments. It is Lieto godea sedendo, which became so popular that
17 This is best demonstrated in compositions of the same species, frequently
published at the same time, such as madrigals, or canzoni, where compositions
appear in pairs.
18 See Opera omnia, Vols. I and II, ed. D. Arnold, American Institute of
Musicology, 1956 and 1959.

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436 The Musical Quarterly
for several years it was reprinted even in Germany
with the text translated. He followed it up with tw
1590, Fuggi pur se sai and Chiar'angioletta, whic
sonar. With these works he transferred the anti
the instrumental ensemble.

About ten years after these experiments, Gabrieli published sixteen

instrumental ensemble pieces in Sacrae symphoniae, Liber I, 1597. In
them, he handles the antiphonal technique with complete mastery,
introduces a new type of ensemble piece called sonata, and creates a
number of patterns for the canzon, such as ABCDEFGHIA coda (re-
capitulation of the first section, No. III), ABCBD (recapitulation of
the second section, No. IV), ABCDCECF (recapitulation of the third
section, No. II), ABCDEABC (recapitulation of the first three sections,
No. V), and ABACADAEAF (rondo, No. IX). Other pieces follow
the routine of the canzon francese in presenting a string of sections of
varying number, order, or length. Some of these sections are ternary,
and may be frequently chosen by the composer for recapitulation. Not
only the form but the details and style of these canzoni are different
in each piece. All that remains of the canzon francese - the ancestor
of this species - is the frequent use of the dactylic incipit and the
imitative beginning, even in a few sonate. But just as frequent are
chordal beginnings, or pseudo-imitation, in which the notes of a chord
enter at different times.

Again about ten years later, in 1608, six instrumental pieces by

Giovanni appear in Alessandro Raverii's collection, Canzoni per sonar.
Four are short pieces a 4, which can be played on the organ also, and
which must have been composed much earlier, and two are designated
by solmisation syllables: Canzon Fa sol la re and Canzon Sol sol la sol
fa mi, both a 8. Among the forty instrumental ensemble pieces of
Gabrieli these two are the only ones to differ from the rest in having
solmisation titles - and themes. But it is only when we become ac-
quainted with the twenty-one pieces published in 1615 that we become
fully aware of their significance, for there is not a single one that did
not inherit something of these two earlier pieces. Therefore, we may
consider Gabrieli's late instrumental works as a kind of cycle.

These two pieces, in view of their important role, must be examined

more closely. Canzon Fa sol la re is unique in several respects. It is
almost entirely in ternary meter, a short section in binary meter coming
only towards the end and returning again as a coda. Here, the texture

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 437
is not that of two four-part choirs, but of an independent bass lin
with a seven-part complex above it. The motif fa sol la re appears
in many transpositions - only in the Bass and in the role of a qua
ostinato harmonic foundation. Above it unrolls a polyphonic piece i
seven parts, with a four-measure closed and strongly cadential subject
and a countersubject (which appears in inversion also) spun out in
manner hardly ever seen in contemporary music: it is subjected t
thematic development. The piece is still polyphonic but, owing to the
cadence formula of the bass, and the cadential character of the theme
Ex. I

(Fa sol la re transposed)

the polyphony is saturated with harmony. In the ternary sections of

the canzoni and sonate of 1615 the polyphony will disappear almost
entirely, and the harmonic character will predominate. Aluigi Grani,
well aware of the importance of this canzon, reprinted it in the Canzoni
et sonate of 1615 as Canzon IX.

The Canzon Sol sol la sol fa mi also gives the impression

laboratory experiment, one in the ritornel form. Basically, it is a sim
rondo, ABABA, in which A is an extended dactylic motif in bin
Ex. 2

ti .. . ? B'P m ..r

and B a chordal, ternary one. The recapitulations are not exact. Var-
iants (rhythmic, melodic, and proportional) of these two motifs and
those of the Canzon Fa sol la re recur in all the twenty-one canzoni
and sonate of 1615.

Of the instrumental works published in 1615,'9 those with few

voices try to use a single subject with a figure (it cannot be called a
countersubject) taken from Canzon Fa sol la re (Canzon I); or combine
the motif sol sol la sol fa mi with a ternary subject as a contrasting
section before the coda (Canzon II); or combine an old canzon subject
19 Except Sonata XXI per tre violini, none of these works is available in
modern printed score.

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438 The Musical Quarterly
with a ternary one, after the exposition (Canzo
ritornel that appears four times and alternates wit
la sol fa mi (Canzon IV); or combine an old canzo
subsidiary motif of Fa sol la re, and use two types
one rhythmically livelier after the second section a
a coda (Canzon V).
It would be a mistake to expect that a composer e
a novel type - the sonata - would differentiate b
the canzon and that of the sonata as clearly as
years later. There is, in fact, in both the late canzo
brieli the germ of a feature that was not to evolve
In Canzon VI a 7, for example, between an initia
capitulation at the end, the body of the piece conta
thematic work, or development: the alteration of a
the opening section and its combination with new
a 7 looks like an inverted French overture: after 11
meter with imitations, there is a slow section of 1
the principal motif of the piece
Ex. 3

is varied
Ex. 4

and augmented
Ex. 5

,4. i i, , I 1 ...

as bass.

In Canzon VIII a 8 there are no ternary sections, but the piece is

interrupted four times by a few measures in ternary meter. It is clearly
an experiment. Canzon X a 8 in its writing for the instruments intro-
duces a number of the patterns that were to become commonplace in
the Baroque concerto grosso. Canzon XI a 8 is - with the exception
of the short coda - entirely in ternary meter. In Canzon XII a 8 two
different ternary sections are interpolated, both chordal, and both closed
melodically and harmonically. Sonata XIII a 8 is a rondo (ABACABA)
with an introduction and a coda. Canzon XIV a 10, although purely

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 439
a canzon (ABCDE coda), is no less interesting, because the terna
section combines 3/4 and 6/8 meters, producing a "rhythmic d
nance" in sharp contrast with the calm binary A section. Canzon XV
10 returns to the older idea of a contrasting ternary section towards
end. But this section has a rounded, symmetrical melody of a t
unprecedented in Gabrieli's era:
Ex. 6

F B I L I ' I I I I 1
Ao~ p.


The proportions of these can

almost twice as long as the a
is Canzon XVII a 12, a ritornel
motif is an F-major triad, t
eighths, quarters, and, in th
and breve.
Ex. 7

A 6)
A 1

^IY~ t~~l~tI
p- H

The notes of the triad return in the binary section as well.

Finally, the last big sonatas are based definitely on spatial

and present their choirs one by one. Each choir enters on the f
of the section played by the preceding one. Then after a
tremendous sound of all the voices rings in a thunderous
subjects are now rounded melodies, with the dactylic ance
recognizable behind the rhythmic alterations. Sonata XV
monothematic; new material is presented over the quasi ostin
long theme. Sonata XIX a 15 is really a very serious canzon
proportions, in which Gabrieli seems to have experimented w
ferring the style back to that of a singable piece. Similar
be found in the great Sacrae symphoniae of the last perio
XX a 22, divided into five choirs, sums up all that the com
tried out in the previous pieces. After a five-fold exposition by

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440 The Musical Quarterly
choirs, there follow a long section combining all the
an extended ternary section for divided choirs, and

In several of these pieces there are dynamic in

forte), as well as indications of instrumentation (cor
boni). They are not given consistently, but there s
that they are also applicable in those works in which
In many of these polyphonic pieces the cantus p
choirs are embellished. They are undoubtedly mean
by soloists.

All the above considerations apply to his late s

Here are some examples showing the variety to be
aspects of style in his late choral works, and the sim
of his late instrumental and choral works. (To be s
of one from the other in these late compositions is

Surrexit Christus a 1120 is set for three voices

eight instruments (two cornetts, two violins, and fo
is an introductory sinfonia and a brief choral ex
Christus!) before the somewhat modified repetition
following line, announcing that God has spoken,
companied by three trombones. There is every reas
this passage is intended to be sung by a single voic
the accompaniment, the nature of the text (narr
occurrence of similar passages for Tenor and for B
tutti Allelujas, all point to this interpretation. Ano
changing meter- as frequently as in the instrumen
times within eighty measures- unprecedented in
part after the sinfonia consists of three sections wi
effects, framed by four Alleluja-ritornels. Howeve
worked out harmonic continuity, the whole has the
form: sinfonia, a section with solos, and a chor
clementissime a 12 has no sinfonia. The two choirs
voices (C3, C3, C4, C4, F4, F4) and six instrume
four bass trombones). The instruments are as impo
20 Published in Symphoniae sacrae, 1615. It has been repr
by Concordia, ed. by H. Pantaleoni, St. Louis, 1961.
21 We use these symbols to show the clefs employed,
on the third line, etc.

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 441
paraphrasing the material of the choir. There is no. abstract form: th
piece is durchkomponiert. Quem vidistis pastores22 is listed as a 1
but fifteen performers are required, seven voices for the unevenl
divided choirs (C3, C3, C4, F4-C3, C4, C4), and eight instruments
(two cornetts and six trombones, with one of the trombones doubling
a voice part). There is a sinfonia; then vocal solos and a florid du
for two tenors, all unaccompanied. Although similar to Surrexit Christu
in its frequent changes of meter - the sinfonia itself changes thre
times, the final Alleluja twice -as well as in its grand tripartite form
(it runs to 169 measures), there are many differences in detai
Related to these last two motets is the Jubilate Deo a 1823 for one
choir of ten voices and another of eight instruments (two cornetts, one
alto, three tenor, and one bass trombone, and one bassoon). Curiously,
in the Index motetorum of the original edition, it is listed among the
ten-part works, possibly because the instrumental parts are written out
only for the sinfonia. But it would be preposterous to think that eight
musicians would have been hired to play eight measures. There are
sixteen changes of meter in the course of 117 measures, five of them
for ternary ritornels, which frame the four sections following the sin-
fonia. No antiphonal technique is used, and it is noteworthy that the
two soprano voices (boys) are silent during the entire middle section.

In ecclesiis a 1424 also needs fifteen performers, since there are eight
voices grouped in three choirs (C1, C3, C4-C3, C4-C3, C4, F4),
and seven instruments (three cornetts - the third to be doubled by an
alto trombone - one violin, and two bass trombones). It surprises by
beginning with a soprano solo and by having the sinfonia and the most
prominent instrumental participation between the second and third of
five Alleluja-ritornels. Vocal solos and duets in different combinations
substitute here for the contrast of registers obtained by antiphonal tech-
nique in earlier works. The full choir, aside from the Alleluja-ritornels,
22 The last two works were published in Symphoniae sacrae, 1615. They are not
available in modern score. (When this was written, only two volumes of the Opera
omnia had been published by the American Institute of Musicology, ed. by D.
Arnold. Since then, but too late to be taken into account here, Vol. III has
23 This is not the same Jubilate Deo that has been published by Bongiovanni
(ed. by G. Piccioli) and G. Schirmer (ed. G. W. Woodworth) and is erroneously
attributed to the collection of 1597. That one was printed in Promptuarii musici
pars III, Strasbourg, 1613, ed. A. Schade. Published in Symphoniae sacrae, 1615,
the present Jubilate has not been reprinted in modern score.
24Symphoniae sacrae, 1615. Reprinted by G. Schirmer, ed. G. W. Woodworth,
New York, 1952.

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442 The Musical Quarterly
does not appear until after the fourth Alleluja. In th
approach the cantata in their formal layout, one noti
dom in the succession of sections and choice of perform
still found in Bach's cantatas. Regardless of the archi
however, there is always a feeling of an abstract
though that plan is not the same in any two works.

Exsultet jam angelica turba a 14 and Audite prin

no instruments prescribed, and they have no ritornels
has two ternary sections, the second four, before th
final Alleluja. Audite introduces another novelty by st
solo, continuing with the exposition in the first choi
C4), partly in binary, partly in ternary meter, th
solo, then the second choir (C1, C4, C4, F3, F5), a
and the third choir (G2, C1, C4, C4, F4, F5). After
sixteen voices command Audite!, and proceed wit
From here on, to the end of the 232-measure piece (t
alone runs to 34 breves), shorter or longer phrases, o
phonal technique and constantly changing meter brin
overlong work. The form of this motet is, owing to it
and lack of ritornels, rather diffuse. That of Exsulte
sections separated by two ternary sections. As in s
the third choir of Exsultet does not enter until the fi

As a last example, Hic est filius Dei a 1826 may be

voices are evenly divided in three choirs (C1, C3,
C1, C3, C4, C4, F4, F5-C2, C3, C4, F3, F4, F5); th
change throughout the 111 measures; there are no in
ritornels, and the word Alleluja occurs only twice,
and not repeated. The rich material is handled in
fashion, very much as in Sonata XIX a 15.

A report on other aspects of style, such as the

some late works, is beyond the scope of this article.
of the fact that reference had to be made to the intr
passages and the sporadic presence of harmonic ba
be mentioned that although Gabrieli is not known

25 These two pieces appeared in Reliquiae sacrorum conce

1615. No modern score is available. With respect to Exsultet,
Tuba intonet salutaris in Acta musicologica, XXXI (1959), 109
26 Unique manuscript copy in Kassel.

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The Late Style of Giovanni Gabrieli 443
accompanied monodies, he did experiment with this novelty. Aside fro
the examples cited from among his sacred vocal and instrumental en-
semble works, there are his Sonata XXI con tre violini e basso as w
as two madrigals published in 1595 (Ahi senza te and Deh di me n
ti caglia), for three high voices and a vocal bass.

Tonal harmony, abstract form, expressive speech-rhythm, clos

melody, an extension of diatonicism, concertante style, an exchange
idioms, the use of a continuo, the introduction of dynamics and inst
mentation - these were the major innovations of the early Baroq
and Giovanni Gabrieli had a major part in experimenting with th
and composing music in the new style.

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