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Reviews: Giovanni Gabrieli: Processional and Ceremonial Music - Appia

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Reviews: 1

Review by Joseph Ponessa September 12, 2013 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The SACD packaging nowhere tells the date, but the original LP cover (which can be accessed online) proclaims that the recording was made at the Gabrieli Festival in Venice in 1957. With this release, the record industry took one of its first, tentative steps toward unleashing the vast baroque repertory upon a hungry public. Many more recordings would eventually appear from the 17th century, the century of Cavalieri, Cassini, Peri, Monteverdi, Gesualdo, Frescobaldi, Landi, van Eyck, Schütz, Lulli, Charpentier, Buxtehude, Pachelbel, Biber, Purcell and so many others. Gabrieli has almost been swamped by the embarrassment of subsequent riches, but this Gabrieli recording helped open the way for all of that.
Naturally the recorded sound has been bettered by others. Of special note in this repertory is the advantage provided by multi-channel recording to the four-choir music of Venice. But for its time, this recording was state of the art, and it has been lovingly mastered to SACD. It has never sounded better, and there won't be a better transfer than this one. So I take away just one point from the sonics to defer to the fine competition. Many have played this well, but hardly better, so I take nothing away from the performance.
PS--One of the several organists on this disc is the Austrian Anton Heiller, who went on to record a selection of Bach pieces for the same company in 1962. That disc has also been released on SACD, and is still available at a little higher price than this one. I have not heard the Bach disc, but the organ interludes on the Gabrieli disc are very pleasing sonically, and bode well for the sonics of the other.

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