Some of the most stirring music for brass was composed by Giovanni Gabrieli, the Italian master of music at San Marco from 1585 to 1612, and chief representative of the Venetian school. This PentaTone hybrid SACD is a treat for fans of this essential Renaissance composer, for the Berlin Brass and the organ of the Berlin Cathedral are recorded with a great sense of the cathedral's space and its resonant acoustic that contribute greatly to the glory of the music. The pieces are selected from Gabrieli's Canzone e Sonate and his Sacrae Symphoniae, two major collections of his compositions, the latter including the antiphonal Sonata pian' e forte (track 12), which is often cited as the first work in western music history to specify instrumentation and to indicate soft and loud dynamics. The ensemble is led by Lucas Vis, with organ interludes played by Andreas Sieling, and the musicians have a cohesiveness that is crucial in such an echoic venue. The multichannel reproduction creates a credible aural impression of the Berlin Cathedral, which has a long reverberation time that is reminiscent of San Marco, where Gabrieli performed much of his work.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Sonata pian'e forte, alla quarta bassa, à 8, for 8 brass instruments in 2 choirs (from Sacrae Symphoniae)