Giovanni Gabrieli

1557 - 1612

Personal details

*around 1554-1557 in Venice?, +1612 in Venice. Nephew of Andrea Gabrieli, who influenced his musical education and the style of his early works. 1575–1579 at the court chapel of Albrecht V in Munich under the direction of Orlando di Lasso. From 1584 until his death, organist of St. Mark’s, Venice, in succession to Claudio Merulo. In addition, from 1585, organist at the ‘Scuola Grande di S. Rocco’, where he was responsible for, among other things, the Masses and Vespers for the major celebrations in the annual cycle. His surviving works are mostly vocal and instrumental music for the church, orientated to the liturgical requirements of the various annual celebrations. In the double- and multiple choir works, as in for example the ‘Sacrae symphoniae’ (1597), which reflect the reputation of the Venetian State with their powerful richness of tone, he took over from his uncle the technique of opposing a coro superiore against a coro grave. Also, in many of his instrumental works, the division of larger forces into cori spezzati. The reprinting of the ‘Sacrae symphonaie’, which appeared in Nuremberg (1598 and 1601) enhanced Gabrieli’s considerable reputation in North-European Catholic countries. His international reputation attracted not only Italian but also foreign students to him, including Heinrich Schütz (1609–1612).

Further composers