The important thing about this recording is not that it's authentic but that it's joyous. It works on many different levels. The performances are well paced, vigorous, delicate at times, always in keeping with the composers' intentions. The sound of the period instruments is a revelation: a beautifully woody organ, and low brass to send shivers up your spine. The program is varied, interspersing contemplative pieces with fanfares and exhilarating ensembles for full choir and orchestra. There's never a dull moment, and not a single duff track. Play it loud.
This is one of my favourite records. Not only is the music beautiful and evocative, but the essence of what the music is about - the coronation of the Doge - adds to it a sense of time and place other recordings don't have. With other records we get a rendition of a composer's work. But with this we get a rendition of a slice of life from another age. Owing to this it acts as a sort of 'time machine', transporting the listener into the congregation in St. Mark's. I would therefore not only recommend this solely on the basis of the music (which is tremendous) but also because it is an aural museum piece that opens up one's imagination to the power and glory of the Venetian republic. A must have.
The Gabrielli Consort have really found the best of the Gabrielli Brothers and very successfully evoked the pomp and beauty of a ceremony in Venice in 1595. five stars for ambience, really makes you fell you're there, the brasswork particularly creates a tingle on the back of the neck. Yes, that good!