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Canzone e Sonate No.17 (1615) By Giovanni Gabrieli


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Gabrieli’s Canzone e Sonate No.17 (1615) is written for 6 Trumpets and 6 Trombones arranged into 3 choirs.

This piece offers a compelling glimpse into Gabrieli’s innovative approach to composition, particularly his penchant for utilizing a single theme or motive as the foundation for an extended musical exploration-an approach that diverged from the conventions of his time. Here, a simple triadic motive takes center stage, recurring throughout the composition in various guises. It serves as the backbone for both structured ritornelli-like sections and more fluid passages, undergoing rhythmic alterations and other transformations, such as inversion, along the way. While the motive may shift in prominence, its presence is pervasive, subtly weaving through the fabric of the work and lending it a distinctive character unparalleled by other canzonas of the era.

A noteworthy aspect of this piece is its unconventional scoring, which contributes to its individuality. Each of the three choirs comprises two high voices and two low ones, with no intermediary tenor or alto parts. This deliberate juxtaposition of high and low registers underscores Gabrieli’s experimental approach to texture, a characteristic also evident, albeit to a lesser extent, in Canzon XIV from the 1615 collection, as well as in his other compositions.

In the original manuscript, the top part of each choir is designated for violino, while the second part is assigned to cornetto. In this edition, the parts are transcribed at the original pitch, preserving the composer’s intended tonal framework and ensuring fidelity to the original score.

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

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