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Canzon quarti toni a 15, C185

composer
1597; No 16 of Sacrae Symphoniae

 
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

Recordings

A New Venetian Coronation, 1595
Studio Master: SIGCD287Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Gabrieli (G): Sacrae Symphoniae
CDA66908

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD287 track 19

Artists
ISRC
GB-LLH-12-28719
Duration
4'34
Recording date
1 March 2012
Recording venue
Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Nicholas Parker
Recording engineer
Neil Hutchinson
Hyperion usage
  1. A New Venetian Coronation, 1595 (SIGCD287)
    Disc 1 Track 19
    Release date: June 2012
    Download only
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