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Andrea Gabrieli
c.1533 - 1585
A. Gabrieli
Andrea Gabrieli (1532/1533 – 30/08/1585) was an Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance. The uncle of the somewhat more famous Giovanni Gabrieli, he was the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers, and was extremely influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as well as in Germany. Details on Gabrieli's early life are really rare. He was probably a native of Venice, most likely the parish of S. Geremia. He may have been a pupil of Adrian Willaert (c.1480-1562) at St. Mark's in Venice at an early age where he was a singer in 1536. Due to a connection with Vincenzo Ruffo (c.1510-1587), who worked there as maestro di cappella Gabrieli spent some time in Verona. Gabrieli wrote some music for a Veronese academy. Gabrieli is known to have been organist in Cannaregio between 1555 and 1557, at which time he competed unsuccessfully for the post of organist at St. Mark's, which post was granted to Claudio Merulo (1533-1604). In 1562 he went to Germany, where he met the Netherlandish Orlandus de Lassus (1532-1594). Gabrieli went back to Venice certainly learned a lot from Lassus. In 1565-66 Gabrieli succeeded Merulo for the post of second organist at St. Mark's and in 1584 Gabrieli was appointed , first organist at St. Mark’s. Gabrieli stayed in this position during the rest of his life. Gabrieli worked in the unique acoustical space of St. Mark's. He developed and defined the vocal polychoral style and the concertato idiom. Gabrieli was a teacher too and among his students were his nephew Giovanni Gabrieli c1556-1612) and Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612). He composed madrigals, sacred music/motets, masses and organ works.
Author:Wim Goossens
Heu Mihi, Domine
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1565
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus inaequalium
Text/libretto:Latin out of de Officium Defunctorum
Label(s):Argo ZRG 857
“Heu mihi Domine” is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum, Ad Matutinum. The “Heu mihi, Domine” is an old Responsorium, a Respond which is published in the old Liber Usualis (ed. 1936 page 1791) and is sung after Lectio V in the secund Nocturn (Secundo nocturno) in the Matins of the Dead. In this case the composer Andrea Gabrilei set this Respond “Heu mihi Domine” for five voices (CATTB). See the text part and the references below. The choice of texts and the order in which the Responds normally occur in the sources as we saw in the Renaissance period vary according to local uses. Gabrieli uses in this case the general version, but omitted the belonging Versicle which is placed between brackets by us in the text below. Instead of “ubi” where, Gabrieli uses the word “quo” where. A slightly difference. Gabrieli set this motet generally in imitative polyphonic counterpoint as developed by the Netherlandish polyphonists. Gabrieli starts with Tenor, followed by Bassus, Altus, Cantus and Quintus. Tenor, Bassus and Cantus start with the same theme. Altus and Quintus a quint higher compared to Tenor and Bassus. Stylistically these motet is noticeably earlier than the polychoral works for which even both Gabrieli’s are today known. Gabrieli makes intensive use of imitative polyphony with a flowing cadence in this motet. Nevertheless Gabrieli uses indeed more specific word-painting in the “Miserere mei/have mercy on me”, with a full major chords in homophonic style to underline those words in bars 38 up to 42, which will be repeated again in the same notes and rhythm “Miserere” in bars 51 up to 55. But interesting is both homophonic phrases are followed by an identical ”dum veneris in novis die” set in imitative style. We could hear and see here an example of the polychoral style already in mind of Gabrieli . The closure of “Dum veneris” in the last two bars differs of course from the previous and the motet closes in E Phrygian mode. This motet consists out of 64 bars. This work is published in Andrea Gabrieli Sacrae Cantiones (Vulgo Motecta Appellatae), Quinque Vocum, Liber Primus Angelo Gardano Venezia 1565.
Author:Wim Goossens
R. Hei mihi, Domine, quia peccavi nimis in vita mea:
quid faciam miser, [ubi] quo fugiam, nisi ad te, Deus meus?
Miserere mei, dum veneris in novissimo die.
[V. Anima mea turbata est valde: sed tu Domine succurre ei.]
[R. Miserere mei, dum veneris in novissimo die.]

R. Woe is me, o Lord, for I have sinned exceedingly in my life:
Miserable, what shall I do, to which place
shall I flee, if not before Thee, my God?
Have mercy on me when. Thou shalt come at the latter of all days.
[V. My soul is greatly troubled; intercede upon me, o Lord!]
[R. Have mercy on me when. Thou shalt come at the latter of all days].
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Libera me Domine de viis
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1565
Musical form:Motet a 5 vocibus inaequales
Text/libretto:Latin from the Officium Defunctorum
The ”Libera me Domine de viis” is in general a plainchant from the Officium Defunctorum/ Office of the Dead more specific a Responsorium sung at the closing ad Matutinum/Matins. The Libera Domine is a well-known Respond in the Office of the Dead; there are in general (4) plain-chant variations of Libera (me) Domine known. This Libera me Domine de viis is an old Responsorium out of the Officium Defunctorum see the Liber Usualis (ed. 1936 page 1798-1799). There are about 138 Responsoria de Officium Defunctorum known and used all over Europe during centuries in the Office of the Dead. They are all well-ordered. This Libera me Domine de viis is Respond nr. 40. To this Repond belongs Versicle nr. 31 “Clamantes et dicentes”. But Gabrieli doesn’t set this Versicle at all. Gabrieli uses the text-version of Aosta about 1400. This Respond is set by Gabrieli for five voices (CAQ/TTB) and is written in an imitative polyphonic style with some polychoral phrases. Gabrieli uses sharps, flats and dissonant to underline the wording.
Part Tenor starts with “Libera me Domine” followed by Bassus, Altus, Cantus and Quintus. All parts excluded the Altus uses between Libera me” and “Domine” a minor sixth! This minor sixth will be repeated in the next sentence. A conscious moving start by Gabrieli. The parts are imitating each other in a certain modest way. In bar 16 en 17 Gabrieli uses in this motet polychoral imitation. In “Qui portas aereas” Gabrieli created two choirs - choir I: Cantus, Quintus, Tenor, Bassus - answered by Choir II: Altus, Quintus, Tenor. Here underlines Gabrieli in a sense of word-painting the broken brazen gates! Up to bar 26 Gabrieli continues the polychoral style. After that from bar 27 all parts visit one by one the hell. The Altus starts. The last part of this motet from bar 46 is a culmination like a small cadence to the end with all voices pleading “Qui errant in poenis tenebrarum” meaning; “which were in the pains of darkness” ending in A Phrygian. This motet was published in Andrea Gabrieli Sacrae Cantiones (Vulgo Motecta Appellatae), Quinque Vocum, Liber Primus Angelo Gardano Venetiis 1565. A modern score is available by www.cantoressanctimarci.it at St. Mark’s Venice.
Author:Wim Goossens
R: Libera me Domine de viis inferni,
qui portas aereas confregisti,
et visitasti infernum,
et dedisti eis lumen, ut viderent te,
qui erant in poenis tenebrarum.

R: Deliver me O Lord from the ways of hell,
which hast broken the brazen gates, and hast visited hell,
and hast given light to them, that they might behold thee,
which were in the pains of darkness.
Contributor:Wim Goossens
Spiritus meus / Libera me Domine
Period:High Renaissance
Composed in:1565
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus inaequales.
Text/libretto:Latin from the Lectio VII Officium Defunctorum
The sentiment of penitence is expressed in this motet on texts from the Lectio septima de Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum, seventh Lesson at Matins of Office of the Dead. See the Liber Usualis (ed. 1936, page 1797). Spiritus meus / Libera me Domine is published in a manuscript found in the St. Mark’s Cathedral. Andrea Gabrieli has set the first text-part of the seventh lesson out of the Matins of the Dead. This motet is written for five voices (CATTB). As we saw earlier with Juan Vasquez (c. 1500-c.1560) Agenda Defunctorum, Lassus (1532-1594) Sacrae Lectiones, William Byrd (1543-1623) last part of Lesson VII and Philippe Rogier (c.1560-1596) they all composed already on texts out of the Lessons of the Matins of the Dead. This motet by Gabrieli is divided into two movements. Prima pars “Spiritus” starts with Tenor I followed by Quintus, Altus, Bassus and Cantus. Tenor and Altus starts with the same theme so does Quintus and Cantus with another theme. The second movement, secunda pars “Libera me” starts with Altus, followed by Cantus, Tenor, Bassus and Quintus. Gabrieli writes in a modest imitative polyphonic style in accordance with the Venetian School.
Gabrieli uses word-painting especially in “breviabuntur” (bar 26-35) “shall be shortend” with two ascending 8th notes and in “pugnet contra me” (from bar 91-95) “fight against me” with several 8th notes in different combinations in all parts. In “non peccavi “ (bar 42-46) “not have sinned” Gabrieli doubts about those words and he uses a descending line with in each part some longer notes especially on the “non”. The total motet consists out of 128 bars respective 67 and 61. This motet is published in Andrea Gabrieli Sacrae Cantiones (vulgo motecta appellatae), Quinque Vocum,tum viva voce, tum omnis generis Instrumentis cantatu commidissimae Liber Primus Antonium Gardano Venetiis 1565 and found in www.cantoressanctimarci.it the archives of St. Mark’s in Venice. The dedication of this volume is to Illustrissimo et Exellentissimo Principi D. Alberto Palatino Theni.
Author:Wim Goossens
Lectio VII
Prima pars.
Spiritus meus attenuabitur: dies mei breviabuntur, et solum mihi superest sepulcrum.
Non peccavi: et in amaritudinibus moratur oculus meus.
Secunda pars
Libera me Domine, et pone me iuxta te: et cuiusvis manus pugnet contra me.
Dies mei transierunt, cogitationes meae dissipatae sunt, torquentes cor meum.

Translation: Lessons VII
First part.
My spirit shall be weakened: my days shall be shortened, and the grave only remaineth for me.
I have not sinned: and mine eye abideth in bitterness.
Second part.
Deliver me O Lord, and set me beside thee: and let any man's hand fight against me.
My days have passed, dispersed are my thoughts, tormenting my heart.
Contributor:Wim Goossens