A compact, lively work in the festive 12th mode and one of only two in the collection – the other being the Sonata pian’ e forte
—to contrast a high with a low instrumental choir. Much of the music for each choir, too, is contrasted, as at the opening where figural writing in close imitation for the cornetts is answered by sonorous block harmony for the sackbut choir. But there is much agreement between the choirs too, as ideas are thrown wittily back and forth.
The harmony is consistently bright, based almost entirely on major chords, and Gabrieli’s feeling for contrasts of key seems remarkably modern; the ‘white-note’ harmony of the mode is punctuated by four cadences in the ‘dominant’, G major, and a delightful sprinkling of more distant major chords: B flat, D, A and E major.
from notes by Timothy Roberts © 1997