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Canzone e Sonate No.20 (1615) By Giovanni Gabrieli


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Gabrieli’s Canzone e Sonate No.20 (1615) is written for 5 Trumpets and 17 Trombones or 5 Trumpets, 4 Horns and 13 Trombones. This edition includes alternative parts so you can use either instrumentation.

The remarkable scope of this composition distinguishes it from the majority of pieces in the 1615 collection, primarily due to the challenge of achieving coherence on such a grand scale. Interestingly, the work lacks a concerted effort towards overarching organization, devoid of the recurring motifs akin to the ritornello-themes found in smaller compositions within the collection. Instead, Gabrieli presents a diverse array of themes, each possessing varying degrees of contrast.

Of particular note is the recurrence of motifs borrowed from earlier works, suggesting a degree of thematic continuity. For example, the semiquaver figure introduced in bar 20 bears resemblance to a principal motive in one of Gabriel’s earlier tour-part canzonas.

Similarly, at bar 130, a figure emerges mirroring the initial motif of the Canzon “sol sol la sol fa mi” from the Raverii collection of 1608. While it remains uncertain whether this utilization of earlier themes is a deliberate attempt to revisit prior compositions, Gabrieli’s tendency to repurpose motifs from his repertoire is a recurring practice. Consequently, the composition encompasses a considerable repertoire of the composer’s established figures.

In the original manuscript, the two lower parts of Choir I are designated as trombone, while the top part of Choir IV is labeled as cornetto. In this edition, the parts remain in their original pitch, preserving the integrity of the composer’s intended tonal landscape.

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

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