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Canzone e Sonate No.10 (1615) By Giovanni Gabrieli


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Gabrieli’s Canzone e Sonate No.10 (1615) was scored for 4 Trumpets and 4 Trombones or 4 Trumpets, Horn, and 3 Trombones. This edition includes the parts you need to use either ensemble.

This piece stands out as one of Gabrieli’s most experimental and distinctly “baroque” compositions. Unlike many other canzonas in the 1615 collection, it lacks a recurring or dominant idea, instead presenting a series of contrasting themes, each developed at length before transitioning to the next. Despite the diverse nature of these themes, they collectively contribute to an overarching shape, characterized by a progressive increase in liveliness throughout the composition.

Gabrieli’s meticulous construction of rhythmic vitality within the piece is noteworthy. For instance, in the initial section (bars 1-12), a serene imitative texture unfolds, grounded in two contrasting motives-the “double” subject frequently found in his later works. Just before the entry of the second choir, a brief sequential passage in semiquavers is introduced, subtly foreshadowing subsequent developments. The fusion of sequences with close imitation (bar 54-60) or with each other (bar 64-66, featuring a sequence based on the circle of fifths superimposed on an ascending bassline) showcases Gabrieli’s advanced compositional technique.

Moreover, this canzona extensively exploits the circle of fifths, particularly evident in the triple-time section (bars 43-47), which traverses from B flat to A utilizing this harmonic device.

Performing this piece requires careful attention to tempo. While the marked tempo may seem slow compared to canzonas by earlier Venetian composers or even earlier works by Gabrieli himself, the gradual rhythmic build-up from a slower outset is integral to the composition’s effect. This rhythmic progression is inherent in the music itself and does not require additional emphasis, provided a consistent and steady tempo is maintained throughout the performance.

In the original manuscript, the top two parts of Choir I are designated for violins, while the corresponding voices of Choir II are for cornetto. Additionally, for this edition, the brass parts have been transposed down a major third.

Take a look at some sample pages to the left and then click above for an immediate PDF download.

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