Hyperion Records

Canzon primi toni a 10, C176
A similar mood is evident in this second work in the 1st mode, whose initial theme (the opening bars are identical to those of one of Gabrieli’s organ canzonas) closely resembles that of its companion. Here, though, the scoring is not for separate choirs, but for an ensemble of ten equal parts. No instrumentation is specified; we have allocated pairs of cornetts, violins, alto cornetts and bass sackbuts, and a coupling of alto and tenor sackbut, each pair being separated, right and left, for clarity.

The canzona starts seriously, but leads through a madrigalian succession of contrasted, though related, melodies, each section rounded off by a clear cadence. The texture varies kaleidoscopically, the mid-point marked by a strikingly simple phrase in four-part harmony. A straightforward tripla, heard twice, leads into the closing canonic ‘Amen’.

from notes by Timothy Roberts 1997

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