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Giovanni Gabrieli
c.1557 - 1612
G. Gabrieli
Giovanni Gabrieli (1554/1557 – 12/08/1612), an Italian composer and organist. He was influential musicians of his time. Giovanni Gabrieli is an important transitional figure between the Renaissance and Baroque eras and their associated musical styles. The distinctive sound of his music derived in part from his association with St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, one of the most important churches in Europe, and for which Gabrieli wrote both vocal and instrumental works. Through his compositions and his work with several significant pupils, Gabrieli substantially influenced the development of music in the seventeenth century. Very little is known about his early years. Gabrieli probably studied with his famous uncle Andrea Gabrieli (c.1520-1586), who was also a composer, organist and maestro di Cappella at St. Mark's. Like his uncle, Gabrieli lived in Germany for several years (1575-1579). After that stay Gabrieli returned to Italy, and in 1585 Gabrieli was appointed organist at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a religious confraternity. That same year (1585), Gabrieli became temporary organist at St. Mark's and, on his uncle's death in 1586, Gabrieli assumed his position as principal composer and Maestro di Cappella at St. Mark’s. Represented Maestro’s and organist’s at St. Mark’s Cathedral or members of the Venetian school are Adrian Willaert (1480-1562), Jacques Buus (1500-1565), Cypriano de Rore (1516-1565), Giaches de Wert (1535-1596), Gioseffo Zarlino (c.1537-1592), Claudio Merulo (1533-1604), Constanzo Porta (c.1529-1601), Giovanni Bassano (c.1550-1617) and Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). Much of the city's musical activity was centred around St. Mark's Cathedral, which had long attracted many great Netherlandish musicians and composers like Adrian Willaert (1480-1562) en Cypriano de Rore (1516-1565). St Mark’s has an unusual layout. Several choir-lofts are facing each other (each with its own organ and other places for choirs and musicians (large choirs of brass) which led to the development - due to the marvellous acoustic at St. Mark’s - of what has been called the Venetian style of composition in polychoral settings the so called coro spezzati. The style of alternated choirs in a colourful, dramatic concertato style. Many of the sacred choral pieces by Gabrieli have been written for two or more choirs divided up to 35 parts. Nearly all of them have been written before 1600. Gabrieli wrote a number of pieces for organ, further canzoni and ricercari. Most of his work have been published in the famous collection Sacrae Symphoniae (1597 and 1615). From 1606 Gabrieli has to reduce due to illness his activities.
Author:Wim Goossens
Exaudi me, Domine
Period:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1605c
Musical form:Motet a 16 vocibus inaequalium con bc
Text/libretto:Latin from de Officium Defunctorum
Label(s):HMC 801954
Vivarte SK 66261
ACC 24250
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902632
The main part of the text of this Exaudi me, Domine is an important part of the well-known plainchant Libera me Domine de morte from the Officium Defunctorum/ Office of the Dead more specific a Responsorium sung at the closing ad in Exsequiis and ad quique Absolutiones after the Mass of the Dead. This plainchant Libera Domine de morte aeterna is a Respond in the Office of the Dead; there are in general (4) plain-chant variations of Libera (me) Domine known. The text of the Libera me Domine de morte is published in the Liber Usualis (ed. 1936 page 1767 and 1824). 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. So far the plainchant text. This Latin text used by and this motet is set by Giovanni Gabrieli for sixteen voices/parts divided in four four-part choirs, SATB, SATB, ATTB, ATTB. In “Exaudi me Domine” (listen to me God), Gabrieli starts with Choir I followed by choir II - III and IV. Gabrieli uses in this motet the coro spezzati technique. In this Exaudi me Domine Gabrieli uses numerous examples of word-painting we mention: (bar 11-12) “tremendes” (tremendous) with ascending 16th notes; (bar 14-15 and 58-59, 77-80, 85-88) “movendi sunt” (are moved) with hocketing figures, (bar 24- 30) “per ignem” (through fire) with ascending 8th notes, (bar 31) “tremens factus” (I made tremble) with three trilling 8th notes and more. From the wording (bar 37) “dum iudicium aderit” (while the judgment comes) Gabrieli combines all four choirs in all possible formation. All choirs are full of dramatic elements following the meaning of the real dramatic text – in fact the last judgment - larded with rich harmonies. In (bar 63-74) “Parce pie Domine dona mihi veniam de tot sceleribus quibus peccavi.” (Merciful God grants me forgiveness, of many crimes of which I have sinned ), Gabrieli uses homophonic texture in all four choirs to give the most possible impact to this important text. The Exaudi me Domine is a remarkable piece of late Renaissance polychoral music with imposing use of the madrigal figures like in that time only Giovanni Gabrieli could do so. As we already mentioned this motet is in its setting a variant of the plainchant Libera me Domine de morte. It could have been written for the death of a famous person. In the literature it is suggested and by author Michael Procter repeated this motet could be written for Doge Marino Grimani (1532-1605) who died in Venice 1605. At that time, in that famous acoustic at St. Mark’s and the placing of the four Choirs, this motet and the text of this motet Exaudi me Domine should contribute profoundly to any listener’s imagination, attending in those days that Office of the Dead. This motet consists out of 99 bars and is written in D-dorian mode. We placed the not to the Respond/Resporium belonging text between brackets. This motet was posthumously published in Symphoniae sacrae… liber secundus, senis, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, & 19, tam vocibus, quam instrumentis, (postuum) Venetie, B. Magni, 1615.
Author:Wim Goossens

♫ Exaudi me, Domine
© Harmonia Mundi HMM 902632
[Exaudi me Domine, dum cogito mecum,]
De die illa tremenda
Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra
Dum veneris iudicare saeculum per ignem.

Tremens factus sum ego et timeo.
Dum iudicium aderit atque ventura ira.
Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra.

[Parce pie Deus, dona mihi veniam.]
[de tot sceleribus quibus peccavi.]
Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra.

[Hear me, Lord, for I meditate on that tremendous day”!!]
on that fearful day,
when the heavens and the earth are moved,
when you will come to judge the world through fire.

I am made to tremble, and I fear,
While the judgment and the wrath comes
When the heavens and the earth are moved,

[Merciful God grants me forgiveness]
[Of many crimes of which I have sinned.]
when the heavens and the earth are moved.
Contributor:Wim Goossens