Andreas Gabrieli, Ensemble Officium, Wilfried Rombach - Music At San Marco

Published Wednesday 27th January 2016
Andreas Gabrieli, Ensemble Officium, Wilfried Rombach - Music At San Marco
Andreas Gabrieli, Ensemble Officium, Wilfried Rombach  - Music At San Marco

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 160044-26853
LABEL: Christophorus CHR77390

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Extensive research by your reviewer has uncovered the fact that the Gabrieli who composed this lovely music is the uncle and teacher of the better-known Giovanni Gabrieli (1554-1612). Andreas Gabrieli (1532/33-1585) is nonetheless one of the major musical figures of the late 16th century. He spent a large part of his life as an organist in San Mark's, Venice and was also an inventive and popular composer although his lasting significance rests on his impact as the teacher of an entire generation of musicians who then guaranteed the dissemination of his style across southern Germany. Gabrieli's early compositions such as these 'Sacræ Cantiones' dating from 1565 are without doubt influenced by the works of his friend Orlando di Lasso and are none the worse for that. Gabrieli composed both sacred and secular music and his big step forward was the technique of cori spezzati which contrasts vocal and instrumental groups and indeed the brass on this CD, courtesy of Ensemble Gabinetto Armonico, sounds surprisingly contemporary. Wilfried Rombach's Ensemble Officium have established themselves as leading exponents of Renaissance music and Gregorian chant. On this CD Gabrieli takes them and us closer to Baroque and while the music was composed for and used in worship, like much of Bach's output it is easy listening for those of us who enjoy a good tune. Unfortunately while the CD booklet contains the Latin texts the translation is only in to German so if we are to understand what is happening we will have to undertake some research. Or we can sit back and enjoy the tunes without worrying too much about what they are saying. I wonder if the worshippers in Saint Mark's Cathedral in 16th-century Venice did the same.

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