Giovanni Gabrieli

1557-1611. Italian composer. Giovanni is the most important of several composers named Gabrieli. He was the last great composer to cultivate the Renaissance polychoral style at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. He also was a key figure in developing some aspects of music that are thought of as distinctly Baroque. He almost completely abandoned the composition of Masses in favor of motets, these often for two or three choirs and in up to nineteen voice parts. He gave instruments a new role, not only combining them on equal terms with voices in many of his motets, but also writing magnificent canzoni for wind instruments to be played in the great cathedral. He was a pioneer in the new “concertato” style that dominated the Baroque era and had a direct influence on almost all the leading figures among his younger contemporaries.