Like the Sonata pian’ e forte
, this imposing piece is essentially a seamless, harmonized melody, whose wide reaches are passed from one choir to the other in a fine display of Gabrieli’s genius for controlled musical tension. Note the powerfully effective repetition of the penultimate section, and superb sense of new harmonies in the final tutti. The texture is remarkable, too, the centre of gravity in each of the six-part choirs being very low; the bottom four instruments are closely spaced, the top two wider apart, which helps the leader to shine and the second part (the top sackbut in our scoring) to emerge from the texture from time to time.
from notes by Timothy Roberts © 1997