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From the eleventh century, Venetian mariners gathered together once each year to offer prayers to San Nicolò, the patron saint of sailors, asking for his continued protection. Initially the service was a simple benediction in which the Adriatic Sea was blessed with holy water. By the late-sixteenth century the ceremony had evolved into one of the most lavish and important dates in the Venetian calendar. Ascension Day now launched a large spring festival which was headed by the symbolic wedding of Venice to the Adriatic—the Sposalizio.
Robert King and his serried ranks of instrumentalists and singers recreate this glorious event in the grandest style. Giovanni Gabrieli’s twenty-two-part Sonata (his largest-scale instrumental work), Andrea Gabrieli’s ‘Battle’ Canzona, the church bells of Venice, fanfares for trumpets and drums, the massive sixteen-part madrigal Udite, chiari—the catalogue of riches goes on …
“Glorious music, gloriously performed”
“An exceptional recorded event. Ravishing music. A very fine achievement all round”
“The music is glorious, the performances exemplary, the sense of occasion overwhelming … another marvellous concept from Robert King and his redoubtable consort, here breathtakingly recreating the celebrations which would have taken place on Ascension Day circa 1600. Glitteringly recorded
and a superb booklet”
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