Giovanni Gabrieli's works could be considered the summit of musical expression of the Renaissance, the dramatic climax of three centuries of polyphonic writing. Born in Venice in 1557, he studied among others with Roland de Lassus in Munich before returning to Venice in 1580. From 1584 until his death in 1612, Gabrieli was organist at St Mark's Basilica. His compositions feature the use of several choirs opposing each other on different sides of the church. Supple, free, and effective, his music had a very immediate impact on the listener; a creator of the concertante style, Gabrieli's sense of colour and spatial layout makes him perhaps one of the first musicians of the Baroque Era. Centred around the theme of the Nativity and the Holy Family, the hymns by Gabrieli and other composers from the same period are luxuriant works richly performed here by the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal choir and a wonderful phalanx of sackbut and cornetto players: a beautiful world of sounds for Christmas.