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Canzone e Sonate No.11 (1615) By Giovanni Gabrieli


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Gabrieli’s Canzone e Sonate No.11 (1615) is written for 4 Trumpets and 4 Trombones.

This piece stands out as the most consistently sequential composition in the 1615 collection. Throughout the work, various types of sequences unfold, punctuated by ritornello motives that themselves follow a sequential pattern based on the circle of fifths. While this approach might risk monotony in the hands of another composer of the time, Gabrieli adeptly navigates the terrain by presenting a succession of contrasting themes, resulting in an engaging continuous movement akin to the character of Canzon IX. One key factor contributing to the success of Gabrieli’s experiment is the incorporation of thematic counterpoint in several sequential sections, adding a layer of complexity and nuance that prevents the music from becoming overly predictable.

In performance, a delicate touch is essential. Even during ritornello sections or other tutti passages, restraint in volume is crucial to maintain the piece’s delicate balance. Additionally, attention should be given to highlighting hemiola figures, such as the cadential figure in bars 41-42, where the dotted minim should extend seamlessly into the following semiquavers- a common stylistic formula of the time.

In the original manuscript, the top two parts of Choir I are designated for cornetto, while the corresponding voices of Choir II are specified for violino. Furthermore, for this edition, the brass parts have been transposed down a tone from the original manuscript to align with the intended tonal framework.

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

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