Plural Sax

Sax Octets

Canzon Primi Toni à 8

Giovanni Gabrieli, arr. Ben Tordoff


Giovanni Gabrieli was the nephew of the established Venetian composer Andrea Gabrieli, and studied composition both with his uncle and with the Flemish composer Lasso. As organist at St. Mark's basilica in Venice, he composed a large number of works taking advantage of the space and acoustics, mostly for small groups of mixed instruments and/or voices in the "cori spezzati" (seperated choirs) style developed in Venice during the 16th century.

This canzon “first tones” is taken from the first volume of Gabrieli’s “Sacrae Sinfoniae” published in 1597. This book also included “Sonata Pian e Forte”, one of the first scores ever to include dynamics. This transcription for two sax quartets includes editorial suggestions on dynamics and articulations. The original score left these entirely up to the players, as including dynamics in scores was still a relatively new invention. Alternative parts for sopranino (instead of soprano A) and bass (instead of baritone B) are provided.

You might also like our two other Italian Renaissance pieces for two quarters:

 Score Parts Part index Backing track
© 2020 Ben Tordoff

If you enjoyed this piece, have comments or corrections, we'd love to hear from you.

This music is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence.