Andrea Gabrieli


(01 Januar 1532 — 30 August 1585)

Andrea Gabrieli was probably born in Venice in 1532 or 1533. Together with his nephew Giovanni he represents the height of the Venetian School, which in the late Renaissance developed a polychoral form of composition (or for “cori battenti”, i.e. that respond to each other in turn) within the context of the musical activity at St Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

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A student of Adrian Willaert, Andrea Gabrieli lived in Verona around 1550, where he was in contact with Vincenzo Ruffo, who published one of his madrigals in 1554.

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Between 1555 and 1557 he was organist at Cannaregio and in 1562 he travelled to Germany, where he visited Frankfurt and Munich and got to know Orlando di Lasso.

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His meeting with this composer had a profound influence on Andrea Gabrieli. He broadened his composition enriching it with solutions discovered in the course of his travels and opened up to instrumental music.

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After obtaining a fixed position as organist in St Mark’s in 1566, the composer had the opportunity to write both for voices and for instruments and to perform his own compositions within the basilica.

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The resonant acoustics of St Mark’s induced Gabrieli to cultivate a style that brought together vocal and instrumental groups which took up positions and responded to each other in the ample space of the basilica, an evolved and dialectic style, a form of writing that elaborates and sublimates the complex Franco-Flemish polyphonies and that would go on to influence the composers of the early Baroque period.

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Gabrieli died on 30th August 1585.

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His music includes a substantial corpus of vocal music, of which the works published during his lifetime include: Sacrae cantiones, Il primo libro and Il Secondo libro di madrigali a cinque voci, the Primus liber missarum sex vocum, Il primo libro de madrigali a sei voci, Libro primo de’ madrigali a tre voci, Ecclesiasticarum cantionum quatuor vocum, Il secondo libro de’ madrigali a sei voci and the Psalmi Davidici.

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The composer’s posthumously published works include the three collections of the Concerti di Andrea, et di Giovanni Gabrieli, the Chori in musica sopra li chori della tragedia di Edippo Tiranno, Il terzo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, Madrigali et ricercari a quattro voci, La musica per strumenti da tasto and the two collections of La musica per strumenti da tasto e liuto.