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GIOVANNI GABRIELI: “Berliner Dom – Music for Brass & Organ” = Andreas Sieling, organ/ Berlin Brass/ Lucas Vis – PentaTone

GIOVANNI GABRIELI: “Berliner Dom – Music for Brass & Organ” [TrackList follows] = Andreas Sieling, organ/ Berlin Brass/ Lucas Vis – PentaTone multichannel SACD PTC 5186 509, 62:14 (11/19/13) [Distr. by Naxos] *****:

Gabrieli was one of the most influential musicians of his time, during the change from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.  Students came to Venice to study with him from all over Europe, and he and his father were known their many works in the special Venetian School polychoral style. Sacred vocal and instrumental were his forte—to show off the might of Venice and its Doge. While there are many recordings of his varied brass works for brass ensembles as well as those of the choral works of both composers for choral groups, it is most pleasing to hear these settings for pipe organ and brass, expertly recorded in the finest surround sound in the voluminous acoustics of the Berlin Cathedral, which takes one back to the interior of the highly ornamented, acoustically impressive interior of St. Marks in Venice.

Gabrielli was actually the principal organist at both St. Marks Basilica and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, second only to St. Marks in its musical standing. Among these 18 Canzons, Ricercars, and Sonatas for brass and organ there are few organ solos. Almost 30 brass players take part in the recording, coming from the Berlin German Opera, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Concert House Orchestra of Berlin, the Sachsische Staatskapelle of Dresden and the Berlin Dom itself.

Giovanni Gabrieli is known as the father of spatial music. He wrote most of his works especially for the generous acoustics of the golden-mosaiced interior of the San Marco cathedral—having the tutti sections make use of the entire space, and contrasting impressively with the often virtuosic solos coming from the respective brass and vocal choirs around the cathedral.

The program is divided into three parts: The first consists of of five works of large to medium size. Two different types of brass instruments are used: trumpets and trombones vs. Flugelhorns, French horns, euphoniums and tubas. Part 2 has nine works for small ensemble and small solo organ. Typical brass quartets of instruments are heard, and the organ is an historic small organ used for baptism and marriage services. Part 3 consists of four works which are the major sonatas for large ensemble, taken from Gabrieli’s Canzoni e sonate. All 27 brass virtuosi are brought together on this grand finale. Here is an SACD which could provide a tremendous demonstration of the value of hi-res surround sound on your system.


1) Canzone e Sonate Canzon XV à 10
2) Canzone e Sonate Canzon VI à 7
3) Sacrae Symphoniae Sonata Octavi Toni à 12
4) Canzone e Sonate Canzon IX à 8
5) Canzone e Sonate Canzon XVI à 12
6) Canzon in G minor
7) Sacrae Symphoniae Canzon III à 4
8) Sacrae Symphoniae Canzon I à 4 “La spirita”
9) Ricercar primi toni
10) Sacrae Symphoniae Canzon IV à 4
11) Sacrae Symphoniae Canzon II à 4
12) Sacrae Symphoniae Sonata pian’e forte…
13) Canzon in A minor
14) Canzone e Sonate Canzon I à 5
15) Canzone e Sonate Sonata XIX à 15
16) Canzone e Sonate Canzon XVII à 12
17) Canzone e Sonate Sonata XVIII à 14
18) Canzone e Sonate Sonata XX à 22

—John Sunier

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