Hyperion Records

Canzon quarti toni a 15, C185
Scored for three contrasting five-part choirs, this work is the richest and perhaps most imposing of the collection. However, like all the best orchestrators, Gabrieli refrains from over-using his tutti: the full ensemble is heard in only thirteen of the work’s seventy-one bars. The music starts in the manner of a sonata, with deep harmonies and with one instrument being followed in rhythmic canon by its fellows; later, more canzona-like features emerge, including a brief tripla just before the end.

For Zarlino, the 4th was most lachrymose of the modes, ‘even sadder’ than the 3rd, which itself could ‘move to tears’. The harmony, full of mournful semitones, gravitates repeatedly to E major, usually through a ‘dying fall’ from D minor.

Gabrieli specifies the scoring; the characteristic appearance of a single viola among the wind instruments serves to clarify the texture and also recalls a typical Venetian vocal scoring, in which a solo singer on the top voice of a low ‘choir’ would be accompanied by a group of sackbuts. The rhythms of the viola’s opening bars certainly suggest music ‘to an imaginary text’.

from notes by Timothy Roberts 1997

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA66908 track 6
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-90806
Duration
4'34
Recording date
5 March 1997
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Gabrieli: Sacrae Symphoniae (CDA66908)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: September 1997
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