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Andrea Gabrieli (1532-1585)

Andrea Gabrieli, Italian organist and composer, wrote madrigals, motets, masses, ricercari, and canzones for organ and was important in developing multiple-choir technique, which was further refined by his nephew Giovanni Gabrieli.

Andrea was the first Venetian composer of international stature after a period in which Netherlandish composers had been dominant in the city. Andrea’s compositions are less flashy and profound than those of his nephew, but Giovanni could not have written what he did without standing on his uncle’s musical shoulders. Not much is known about Andrea’s early life. In 1557, he unsuccessfully applied for the position of organist in St. Mark’s, which was instead won by Claudio Merulo. He did serve under the duke of Bavaria with Lassus (1562) and was finally hired at St. Mark’s sometime between the end of 1564 and 1566, where he remained as organist until his death some 19 years later.

Andrea published music in many styles and genres, including quite a few ceremonial polychoral works, the style of which he may have learned when at the court of the duke of Bavaria with Lassus. The pieces he composed later tend towards the simpler chordal style of Giovanni’s works. He also composed many pieces for the organ, including intonazioni—short improvisatory works arising from the necessity to provide the choi r with pitches for singing.

Vocal Works Performed by SFBC

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