Gabrieli - In Ecclesiis

Revision cards for Gabrieli music A2 set work.

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Background

Published in 1615 in Symphoniae Sacrae

Probably intended for performance at San Marco (St. Mark's cathedral), Venice, where Gabrieli was an organist

Motet - a work with Latin text, intended for a specific occasion or day in the church caldendar, and not part of a Mass

Early Baroque traits, as well as some Renaissance features

Large forces show that the piece was intended for performance in one of the best churches in one of the wealthiest states:

- Large accompanying instrumental band

- Use of four soloists

- Choir

- Organ continuo

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Rhythm and Metre

Quadruple time (4/4) alternating with brief, dancing triple-time sections (3/4)

Towards the end there are passages in 3/1, with long note values to create a sense of majesty and awe

Rhythmic variety to project the sense of the text:

- Long note values to emphasis word 'Deus' at bar 102

- Lively dotted rhythms e.g. bar 32

- Florid, rapidly moving lines (e.g. bar 68)

- Syncopation (e.g. bar 68)

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Melody and Word-Setting

Often stepwise with a relatively narrow range

- First countertenor solo spans an octave, but the first baritone solo only spans a major 6th

Frequent repititon of phrases (e.g. bars 3-5)

Sequence (descending at bars 13-16, ascending at 17-19

Declamatory style, evident in use of:

- Syllabic style for clarity (e.g. 39-44, alto and tenor solo parts)

- Prolongled virtuoso melisma (bars 68 and 116-117)

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Harmony...

Renaissance derived style is evident in frequent cadences on varying degrees of the scale

- use of suspensions and the consonant 4th at some cadences

- Ending is marked by a series of perfect cadences followed by a plagul cadence

Baroque features:

- Augmented triad (31, with third beat clash between E and F)

- Circle of Fifths, with rising 5ths instead of usual falling ones (17-20)

- Tertiary progressions involving unrelated chords (bar 102)

- Unprepared 7ths (bar 104, second beat)

- Dominant pedal to build up tension (bars 115-117)

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...Harmony Continued

  • Mostly in A minor, with traces of Aeolian mode

 

  • Bar 39 briefly touches on a wider range of keys (due to frequent use of cadences on different steps of the scale)

 

  • Charateristic harmonic devices includes:

- Tirce de Picardie, often with an immediate plunge back to the tonic minor e.g. bar 12 beat 1

- False relations e.g. bars 61-62, C# in cornett II, C natural in chorus alto II

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Structure

  • Refrain scheme, with variations in the instrumental and vocal forces 
  • Solo sections involve contrasting groupings
  • The piece has a separate instrumental section, Sinfonia bar 31
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Texture

Monody - bars 1-5

Homophony - bar 102

Imitation - bars 10-11, alto 1 and tenor

Canon - bar 114

Antiphony - bars 6-10, chorus and countertenor solo

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Forces

Four vocal soloists - countertenor, alto, tenor, bass

Chorus - Alto I, alto II, tenor and bass

Instrumental group of three cornetts, violin (corresponding in range to the modern viola) and two trombones. There is also a continuo part 

The contrasting of available forces is a characteristic of early Baroque concerto style:

- 1-5: Vocal solo (counter tenor)

- 6-12: Refrain (chorus and counter tenor)

- 13-24: Vocal solo (baritone)

- 25-31: Refrain (chorus and baritone)

- 31-38: Sinfonia

- 39-61: Alto tenor with instrumental group 

- 62-68: Refrain (tenor, alto, chorus and instrumental group)

- 68-94: Countertenor and baritone with continuo only

- 95-101: Refrain (countertenor, baritone and chorus)

- 102-118: Tutti

- 119-129: Extended refrain (tutti)

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