Revolutions in Music
Controcanti
From Giovanni Gabrieli’s polychoral magnificience to Arvo Pärt’s ascetic minimalism

Coro Costanzo Porta & Ensemble Cremona Antiqua
conductor Antonio Greco

music Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, John Tavener, Arvo Pärt


The Venetian polychoral style and Arvo Pärt’s tintinnabuli: two idiomatic styles, two linguistic universes, different but equally capable of affecting the listener. The first was born in St Mark’s Basilica, Venice, with its opposing choir lofts: systematically practised by Willaert and codified by Zarlino and Vicentino, it reached its peak with Andrea Gabrieli and especially with his grandson Giovanni, who gradually developed the ancient practice of opposing choirs into the concertato style. Such vocal and instrumental grandiosity contrasts with the simplicity of the Estonian composer’s music, a result of his thorough study of the medieval and Renaissance repertoire. To Arvo Pärt, “tintinnabuli is the rule where the melody and the accompaniment is one. One plus one, it is one – it is not two. This is the secret of this technique.”