Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzon duodecimi toni à 8

Portrait of Giovanni GabrieliGiovanni Gabrieli was a Venetian composer and organist and one of the most influential musicians of his time. Born in Venice, he was one of five children. Little is known of his early life. He studied with his uncle, the composer Andrea Gabrieli, who was employed at St. Mark’s Basilica from the 1560s until his death in 1585. Giovanni also went to Munich to study with the renowned Orlando de Lassus at the court of Duke Albert V, and he most likely stayed there until about 1579.

By 1584 he had returned to Venice. He became principal organist at St. Mark’s Basilica in 1585 and, following his uncle’s death the following year, he assumed the post of principal composer there as well. San Marco had a long tradition of musical excellence. While Gabrieli’s uncle, Andrea Gabrieli, was recognised as the greatest composer of vocal music in the Venetian San Marco polychoral style, Giovanni Gabrieli was undoubtedly the pre-eminent instrumental composer in Venice and one of the most important and influential composers in all of Europe.