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Canzon in echo duodecimi toni a 10, C180

composer
1597; No 11 of Sacrae Symphoniae

 
This remarkable work seems closest among the six 12th-mode canzonas to real military music, partly because of its unique, treble-dominated scoring of eight cornetts and two sackbuts, divided into two choirs, and also because of its simple, regular harmonic structure and processional feel. Was this perhaps a symbolic evocation of a military band of antiquity?

Echo-writing is one manifestation of composers’ liking, around the turn of the seventeenth century, for special effects of musical perspective. Here the effect depends on the dynamic possibilities of the cornetts rather than their physical placing, for each choir takes turns to echo the other.

Like some other canzonas, the Canzon in echo anticipates the ritornello form of the later concerto, the soloistic echo passages being framed by full ten-part sections. This structure is especially clear in the alternative version of the piece (No 12).

from notes by Timothy Roberts 1997

Recordings

Gabrieli: Sacrae Symphoniae
CDA66908

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