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Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612)

Picture of Giovanni GabrieliGiovanni Gabrieli, Italian organist and composer, nephew of Andrea Gabrieli, was most important in the development of the concerto style and published in 1597 the first printed music with dynamic indications.

Giovanni achieved more fame than his uncle even though his production was almost exclusively for the church. Like Andrea, Giovanni spent some time studying with Lassus at the court of Bavaria in Munich. In 1584, he temporarily filled the vacant organist position at St. Mark’s. By the next year he had successfully won the position of permanent organist, which he kept until his death. Therefore he and his uncle served together as organist s for about a year. After the death of Andrea, Giovanni edited many works by his uncle and supervised the publication, in 1587, of a collection titled Concerti di Andrea, e di Gio[vanni] Gabrieli... , which contained concerti (i.e., pieces for voices and instruments together) composed by both uncle and nephew. He may have also edited the collection of Intonationi d’organo of Andrea Gabrieli (published in 1593) which also contains organ intonations he composed. After Andrea’s death, Giovanni took over the role of principal composer of ceremonial music for St. Mark’s, while also working as the principal organist of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a major confraternity of Venice.

Giovanni Gabrieli composed and published quite a few pieces intended for use in St. Mark’s, including the most famous collection Sacrae symphoniae for 6-16 voices and instruments of 1597, which was followed by a second posthumous volume in 1615 titled Symphoniae sacrae ... liber secundus. Many of his pieces were first published in the 1587 volume. He is also known for having taught many an important composer, i ncluding Schütz, who studied with him from 1609 until his death in 1612.

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