Andrea Gabrieli


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Andrea Gabrieli, [Andrea di Cannaregio]

Organist and composer. Uncle of Giovanni Gabrieli. Almost nothing is known of his life before 1557, when he first tried (unsuccessfully) to become organist at St. Mark's, Venice. A lasting friendship with Lassus began during a trip to Germany in the early 1560s. A pupil of Adrian Willaert, he gained fame as a singer at St. Mark's and later was successful in becoming second organist there after Claudio Merulo. The position of organist at St. Mark's was his from 1566 until his death. His influence in the later 16th century was considerable, especially in Italy but also in Germany. His works are among the first by a native Venetian to escape the dominance of the Netherlandish style. Innovative techniques are found particularly in the ceremonial music composed after he took up his post at St. Mark's. Such music tends to be homophonic, largely syllabic, perhaps polychoral, and above all sonorous. His many compositions, in nearly every genre known at the time, include sacred vocal pieces (Masses, Psalms, motets, concerti); madrigals (eight books and many independent pieces); other secular vocal works of various types; and many instrumental compositions (canzonas, ricercars, intonationi, and toccatas), most for keyboard. Many of his works were first published posthumously, edited by Giovanni Gabrieli. He is remembered also as the teacher of Sweelinck.

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