Renaissance organist, teacher, and composer of the first magnitude; b. Venice, 1510 or 1520; d. Venice, 1586. He started out as a chorister at St. Mark's, and probably a pupil of its music director, willaert. After travels in Germany and Bohemia, and various musical experiences such as serving as Bavarian court organist at the coronation of Maximilian II in 1562, he became organist at St. Jeremiah in Venice, then in 1566 at St. Mark's, where he remained until his death. His recitals with merulo at the other organ on Sunday afternoons were high points in Venice's cultural life. He was a thoroughly Renaissance master, prolific and versatile, equally adept in sacred, instrumental, and social music; and he created masterpieces in all these categories. He left 4 Masses, 7 Penitential Psalms, 2 Magnificats, more than 100 motets, 260 madrigals, 4 mascherate, 4 dialogue-madrigals, choruses to Sophocles's Oedipus (performed at the opening of Palladio's Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza, in June 1585), some 30 greghesche and justiniane (comic part-songs with dialect text), and many works for organ and instrumental ensembles.
He was a master of the divided-choir technique (cori spezzati, coro battente ) and a pioneer in the new homophonic texture, reserving mainly to his madrigals his virtuosity in handling polyphony. His canzoni francesi for instrumental ensembles represent the climax of this species, as do his organ toccatas and ricercari in that field. His music mirrors the pompous and gay life of Venice at the close of the 16th century. Thus his madrigals have the lighter, more fanciful and good-humored spirit of that phase set off by V. Ruffo in Verona but brought to perfection by Gabrieli in the culturally superior and cosmopolitan atmosphere of Venice. Of his many pupils, the most famous were Hans Leo Hassler and his nephew Giovanni gabrieli.
Bibliography: g. benvenuti, ed., Andreae Giovanni Gabrielie la musica strumentale in San Marco, 2 v. (Istituzionie monumenti dell'arte musicale italiana 1–2; Milan 1931–32). a. einstein, The Italian Madrigal, tr. a. h. krappe et al., 3 v. (Princeton N.J.1949). d. arnold, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949–) 4:1185–94; "The Significance of Cori Spezzati," Music and Letters (London 1920–) 40 (1959) 4–14. m. f. bukofzer, Music in the Baroque Era (New York 1947). d. arnold and e. m. arnold, "Andrea Gabrielli," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. s. sadie, v. 7 (New York 1980) 54–60. f. degrada, ed., Andrea Gabrielie il suo tempo atti del Convegno Internazionale (Venezia 16–18 Settembre 1985) (Florence 1987). d. kÄmper, "Synkretismus der Formen und Annäherung an die Canzon da sonar bei Andrea Gabrieli," Analecta Musicologica 10 (1970) 152–155. d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge, Mass. 1996) 289. n. slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th ed. New York 1992) 588–589.
[e. f. kenton]