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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is an outstanding recording of some of Gabrieli's wonderful Scared Symphonies. It is music from around the turn of the 17th Century, reconstructed as it might have been performed in St. Mark's in Venice. It is fabulous stuff, rendered even more fabulous by three of the world's finest Early Music ensembles.

Giovanni Gabrieli was a great composer of the time and had a profound understanding of the acoustic effects of St. Mark's. he uses his forces with immense skill, often balancing several choirs placed around the building with brass instruments of the time. The effect is magnificent, producing music of immense beauty, power and spiritual depth. This is music to lose yourself in as it surrounds you and sweeps you away.

It does that here because it is superbly performed. Jeffrey Skidmore and Ex Cathedra have been making first-class recordings for many years and this is among his best, I think. He balances his forces superbly so that the choirs and the brass complement each other rather than compete. The vocal parts are never swamped by the instruments, but that wonderful Renaissance brass sound is all there. Both His Majesty' Sagbutts and Cornetts and Concerto Palatino are among the greatest of early instrumental ensembles and they excel themselves here. Coupled with excellent singing and a lovely recreation of the sort of sound which might have rung around St Mark's 400 years ago, it makes for something really special.

Hyperion, of course, make a wonderful job of the recorded sound and of the presentation. John Whenham's notes are scholarly and readable and it's a very fine disc all round. This is a real favourite of mine, and I recommend it very warmly indeed.
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on 3 December 2013
Gabrieli's skill at setting sacred pieces of different moods is second to none in my opinion. The singers and instrumentalists in this recording do a wonderful job of demonstrating those moods. This would be at the top of my desert island disc list; I bought it nearly a year ago and haven't tired of it yet!
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on 5 July 2014
This is a terrific recording of splendid music. Gabrieli (G.) produced majestic and resounding music suited to the St. Mark's accoustic, and this version does it justice.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2013
just buy, absorb and listen- Ex will take you into yourself and around the Venice of C16th- a heavenly performance and choice of material.hard to beat
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2013
Based on a few reviews I've seen online I bought this as a present to my father who is really fussy with this kind of music and he absolutely loved it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
Absolutely the greatest recording of Gabrielis Sacred Symphonies, you will just loved and then you'll love it some more. Great listening
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2012
Whatever else you buy, this one has to be top of your list. So good it stays with you in your head long after the music finishes.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2012
These performances are competent only, and don't convey that the ensemble fervently believes in what they're doing. The "Product Description" displayed by Amazon doesn't correspond to the actual performances, which are at so-so level. No way are we offered "wonder, drama and extraordinary spatial effects". In fact, the sound is rather muffled and gets a passing grade mainly because the different sections fall into place and give us a sonic totality that is more than the sum of its parts, which remain recessed and not sufficiently clarified. Nor did my stereo system reveal spatial effects that were enough out of the ordinary to be worth remarking upon.

As for the forces, the individual pieces are handled by 1,2 or 3 voices, and the sagbutts, cornets and cembalo present themselves as a rather indistinct (semi-blurred?) combination that fails to provide the clarity the compositions deserve. The overall coherence does jell sufficiently, however, to divert our attention from these sobering factors.

So these are adequate performances of standard competence and no more. For what's on offer, this CD is considerably overpriced and satisfaction is qualified.
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