Cavalli was born in Crema in February 1602 the son of Giovanni Battista Caletti Bruni, who at that time was maestro di cappella in Crema's Cathedral. He had a particularly beautiful voice, so much so that Federigo Cavalli, the chief magistrate of the city and one of Venice's foremost aristocrats took the then fourteen-year old boy with him to Venice promising that not only would he be fed and paid but that Monteverdi himself would be his music teacher (Cavalli changed his name from Bruni to Cavalli in gratitude). His musical career is best described as one of steady progression rather than a meteoric rise, his fame spread and his compositional technique matured, and Cavalli rose steadily through the ranks of the musical profession until he was so well-thought-of that when Monteverdi died it was Cavalli who was hailed as his successor as the most important musical force in The Serene Republic.
He composed this six-part setting of the Magnificat in 1650 to complete the posthumous edition of the Messa a Quattro voci e Salmi published in memory of his mentor, maestro, and friend Claudio Monteverdi.
It's a very good example of what for lack of a better term I'll call post-Monteverdi Venetian. Its structure is highly sectionalised and it's marked by a wonderfully light 'concertato misto' approach. Indeed 'misto' (mixed) describes it precisely, and Cavalli handling of this variation is deft and masterful, there are solos, duets, trios, embellishments to the vocal line, and some verse taut and tersely written tutti that provide both punctuation and relief.