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O magnum mysterium

1587; Concerti per voci e stromenti musicali; SSAB ATTB
author of text
Responsory at Matins on Christmas Day

Just as many European composers beat a trail to Venice to study with the renowned musicians there, the Venetian Giovanni Gabrieli’s earliest studies were with his uncle Andrea, at St Mark’s, before he travelled north to Munich to learn from the esteemed and influential Lassus. Returning to Venice, he was appointed to St Mark’s as organist and subsequently, following his uncle’s death, as principal composer. Giovanni’s first collection of motets was published in 1587, with a touching dedication to the elder Andrea, to whom he described himself as ‘little less than a son’. O magnum mysterium comes from this collection, scored for two unequal choirs. The sense of quiet, reverential awe suggests a real proximity to the Christ-child in the manger, giving way to a modest joy in the ‘alleluias’.

from notes by Charles Cole © 2020


Sacred treasures of Christmas
Studio Master: CDA68358Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Schütz: The Christmas story; Gabrieli (G): Christmas Motets
CDH55310Archive Service
The James Bowman Collection
KING3Super-budget price sampler — Archive Service


Track 2 on CDA68358 [4'34]
Track 22 on CDH55310 [3'08] Archive Service
Track 11 on KING3 [3'08] Super-budget price sampler — Archive Service

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