Giovanni Gabrielli, was the maestro di capella of the basilica of San Marco in Venice until his death in 1612. He is most famous for his music for sackbutts and cornets which is amongst the earliest purely instrumental music ever published. That music arose from the unusual dimensions of San Marco and its galleries.
However his greatest music was liturgical and in 1615 around 30 of his church music, mainly for Vespers was published,in similar fashion to the great publication of "Selva Morale " that occurred after Monteverdi's death. Much of the music bears a similarity with Monteverdi,s Vespers but is not at that exalted level, and naturally the older composers music can sound a little conservative in comparison. Overall, however this a very enjoyable selection of the 1615 publication, mixing grand Magnificats and gently pentential music as well as a beatiful Christmas motet "Quam pastores"
The singers are a list of the great and the good of the 1970s. Emma Kirkby the sole woman, sounding appropriately boy like, Nigel Rogers sings every track, Rogers Covey Crump is also heard a number of times. The balance between voices and brass is good, Andrew Parrott understands this is vocal music with brass support, not the other way round.
My sole crticism is the recording. It is difficult, to achieve clarity and balance and have a realistic accoustic, and while the singers are not overwhelmed, there is no resonance, I dont want St Pauls London, never mind San Marco but some feeling of a great space is surely needed, this sounds like a studio