Within the great current of the baroque we can distinguish an ever-increasing prevalence of popular motives and a romantic tendency, which, while originating in the baroque, harks back to the romanticism of the Middle Ages. In Italy the knightly romances reappeared at the very beginning of the baroque, and epic poems, long and tedious, flourished again. The spirit of literature became depleted and too intellectual. Bold and creative inspiration gave way to complicated and artificial rhetoric.
By transmitting the technique of polychoral writing to instrumental ensembles, Gabrieli laid the foundation of the modern orchestra. His instrumental writing cannot be called “orchestration” in our modern sense, but the purposeful grouping of instruments and the use of specific instrumental coloring was definitely his aim. It is not so much the exact voice leading, the design, which rules these works, but color, and the color palette of Gabrieli’s orchestra recalls the worm, golden, rich, and transparent colorit of his fellow Venetian, Titian.
①Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1554/1557 – 12 August 1612) was an Italian composer and organist. He was one of the most influential musicians of his time, and represents the culmination of the style of the Venetian School, at the time of the shift from Renaissance to Baroque idioms.
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