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for voices (SSSAAATTTBBB) and chamber organ
Polychoral Music

Although the roots of antiphonal singing go back to the early 15C the origins of music for double and triple choirs - commonly known as cori spezzati - are thought to lie in the Psalm settings of Adrian Willaert published in 1550. Willaert, as music director of the Basilica of St Mark's in Venice, began a tradition of polychoral composition that reached its zenith in the music of Giovanni Gabrieli (1555 - 1612). This tradition influenced many composers from Northern Europe who visited Venice, notably Heinrich Schütz who studied with Gabrieli for four years and brought the Venetian polychoral style back to Dresden.

The performance of music for multiple choirs of voices and instruments from the galleries of St Mark's was usually composed for the great festivals and regal visits of the city. A large body of music became established that perfectly articulated the glorious architecture of the Basilica. It also paved the way for the vertical simplicity and emotional affect of harmonic forms found in later choral music of Monteverdi and the instrumental concerti of Vivaldi.

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Nigel Morgan, Prudential Buildings, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 1BW, United Kingdom Tel: 01924 383017 e-mail: tonalitysystems@mac.com

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