* GABRIELI: 16 works [TrackList follows]; WILLIAMS: Music for Brass – National Brass Ensemble – Oberlin Music

by | Oct 21, 2015 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews, SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

* GABRIELI: 16 works [TrackList follows]; WILLIAMS: Music for Brass – National Brass Ensemble – Oberlin Music multichannel SACD OC 15-04, 68:29 *****:

The doges of Venice wanted to really impress people with San Marco Cathedral. They had the interior covered with gold mosaics and Giovanni Gabrieli developed antiphonal music for spectacular performances in it. A sacred composition (“Polychoral”) for three vocal choirs might have two brass groups at various locations in the cathedral. The result was an amazing “question and answer” writing style, with great blocks of harmony hitting you from opposite sites of the cathedral. There’s even some for four brass choirs.

This one is brass instruments only, part of the Sacrae symphoniae of Gabrieli of 1597, as arranged for the leading 26 brass players from the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detoit and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, by trombonist Tim Higgins. It is a sort of encore to the mid-1960s The Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli, on both Sony Classical CD and SACD in stereo. [We reviewed a rather similar CD in the past…Ed.]

The SACD version wasn’t the best, but some feel the original CD or LP bests this new hi-res surround version. I don’t agree, though it would have been nice if the recording was made in a real cathedral or church (like the original) instead of the studio perfection of the Skywalker Studios in Marin County. The recording engineer was Michael Bishop of Telarc fame, and it definitely is best of hear these first examples of antiphonal music reproduced from all around you via the excellent 5.0 sonics.  The short John Williams brass piece is a good way to close out the album, but nothing special after the magnificence of Gabrieli.


1. Canzon per Sonar Septimi Toni No. 2
2. Canzon per Sonar in Echo Duodecimi Toni
3. Canzon per Sonar Duodecimi Toni
4. Buccinate in Neomenia
5. O Magnum Mysterium
6. Canzon per Sonar Septimi et Octavi Toni
7. Hic est Filius Dei
8. Magnificat a 12
9. Canzon per Sonar Noni Toni
10. Canzon per Sonar Primi Toni No. 2
11. Sancta Maria
12. Canzon per Sonar Primi Toni No. 1
13. Exaudi me Domine
14. Sonata Pian e Forte
15. Canzon per Sonar Quarti Toni
16. Canzon per Sonar No. 2
17. Music for Brass

—John Sunier

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