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A Gabrieli 1533 – 1585 & G. Gabrieli 1557 - 1612

A Venetian Coronation

14 July 2024 • 21h Notre-Dame Basilica

Directed by Paul McCreesh, the Gabrieli Consort and Players return to the performance that first made their name over 40 years ago. In this recreation of a 400-year-old Coronation Mass for the grand Basilica di San Marco in Venice, they explore anew the extraordinary musical riches of composers Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, Bendinelli, Gussago and Merulo.

The performance recreates the Coronation Mass of Doge Grimani which was celebrated on the morning of 27 April 1595. After a complex system of balloting by 41 senior statesmen, the election of a new Doge was heralded by the ringing of bells. If the choice proved popular, widespread rejoicing would often follow. The election of Marino Grimani (1532-1605) was welcomed with particular enthusiasm by revellers who ripped up stalls in the Piazza to fuel a huge bonfire. 

There were at least seven areas around the altar area from which musicians performed, including the two organ galleries and the pulpitum magnum cantorum or bigonzo. 

The division of forces of up to four spacially separated vocal and instrumental ‘choirs’ is one of the most characteristic features of Venetian sacred music. The musicians almost certainly faced inwards towards the altar and the Doge’s seat, the aim being to tickle the ears of the dignatories rather than fill the Basilica.


Gabrieli Consort and Players
Conductor: Paul McCreesh

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