Plural Sax

Sax Nonets

Sonata Pian' e Forte

Giovanni Gabrieli, arr. Peter Guthrie


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.

Sonata Pian e Forte is taken from the first volume of his "sacrea symphoniae" and originally scored for two choirs of four or five instruments. The manuscript was unusual for the time by actually specifying the instrumentation (it was usually left up to the players / conductor) and dynamics, probably because Gabrieli had particular sonic effects in mind. The original was scored for one choir of cornet and 3 sackbuts*, and a second choir of viola and 3 sackbuts.

(* the sackbut pre-dates the trombone, with a harsher, thinner sound)

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

 Score Parts
© 1997 Peter Guthrie

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