Giovanni Bassano

Italian composer of the Venetian School and cornettist of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was a key figure in the development of the instrumental ensemble at St Mark's basilica, and left a detailed book on instrumental ornamentation, which is a rich resource for research in contemporary performance practice. It is not known if he was related to Antonio Bassano a member of a well-known Venetian family of musicians.

Nothing is known of Bassano's life before his arrival as a young instrumental player at St Mark's, probably in 1576 at the age of eighteen. He quickly acquired a reputation as one of the finest instrumentalists in Venice, and by 1585 had published his first book, Ricercate, passagi et cadentie, which details exactly how best to ornament passages when transcribing vocal music for instruments. In that same year he became a music teacher at the seminary associated with St Mark's. In 1601 he took over the job as head of the instrumental ensemble from Girolamo Dalla Casa, and he remained at this post until his death in the summer of 1617. The exact date of his death is not known, but the approximate date is inferred from both of his posts becoming vacant simultaneously.

Bassano was the person most responsible for the performance of the music of the Gabrielis, both as a performer and a director. It is likely that Giovanni Gabrieli had Bassano in mind for his elaborate cornett parts.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1599 Hodie Christus natus est 4.00 stars 2 CD
Solist, Monteverdi Choir,
Philip Jones Brass, Conducted by John Eliot Gardiner