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Gesualdo: Responsories for Easter Week; Victoria: Lamentations / Tenebrae

Album Summary

>Gesualdo, Carlo : Responsories (9), Sabbato Sancto
>Gesualdo, Carlo : Miserere Mei, Deus, motet for 6 voices, W. 7/92
>Victoria, Tomas L. de : Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae
Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

2013 marks the 400th anniversary of Gesualdo's death. One of the most visionary composers of his time, he wrote the Tenebrae Responsories for Easter Week, and his anniversary year offers the opportunity to further explore his music, and his fascinating story, with fresh eyes and ears.

The works for Holy Saturday, featured here, remain a cornerstone of his extraordinary oeuvre.

A game-changing, risk-taking approach to composition, combined with a tortured personal life, makes Gesualdo one of the most fascinating composers in history.

Prince of Venosa, Count of Conza, nobleman, lutenist, composer and double-murderer, his life-story provides the perfect, intense back-drop to some of the most remarkable choral music ever written. The companion work to the Responsories is a set of Lamentations by Tomas Luis de Victoria, a contemporary of Gesualdo.

Tenebrae is widely considered to be one of the finest choirs in the world, having gamered praised for the numerous award-winning recordings. Most recently, they won the BBC Music Magazine 2012 Award for "Best Choral Group".

"Passion and Precision" is the motto of Tenebrae and its members are drawn from musical backgrounds reflecting these qualities, such as the Monteverdi Choir, the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Cathedral and King's College, Cambridge, I Fagiolini, The Tallis Schoalrs, The Swingle Singers and The King's Singers, as well as The Royal Opera House and English National Opera. This combination weaves together a huge variety of choral experience, giving the choir an exceptional range of vocal power and color.

The Observer, 16th March 2013
Tenebrae's faultless control and balance bring the sacred texts to life [in the Gesualdo], including some wild modulations and sudden side-slips...[in the Victoria] the 16 singers of Tenebrae under Nigel Short's direction shine in the darkness.

Financial Times, 27th April 2013
The Tenebrae choir reaffirms its reputation as one of the leading exponents of renaissance music.

MusicWeb International, 13th May 2013
The performances and recording ambience here are irreproachable. Tenebrae produce a sound not dissimilar to that of The Sixteen and employ much the same forces of usually three voices per part...Tenebrae have a more mellow sound and thus achieve a better internal balance amongst the four lines...A superb disc.

BBC Music Magazine, May 2013
This is the Tenebrae ensemble singing the Responsories associated with the Tenebrae period. There have been several fine recordings of these items...but this one excels, partly because it gets exactly right the balance between the mannered, madrigalesque features of the music and the eerie drama and morbidity of the religious story.

Gramophone Magazine, June 2013
Tenebrae's fondness for a monumental sound, achieved with a comparatively small number of singers, is part of a noticeable development of recent years. It certainly focuses the ear on dramatic shaping...From that standpoint, their choice of Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories for Holy Saturday plays to their strengths.

International Record Review, June 2013
If perfection is attainable (which I doubt), we get very close to it here...while these singers revel in the elegance and logic of Victoria, they positively glow in the dramatic and arresting idioms of Gesualdo, whose music, over four centuries on, still has the power to shock and amaze.

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
Tenebrae's command of a wealth of color and control is manifest everywhere. In 'O Vos Omnes' there is a beautiful darkness to the timbre, with the sustained notes completely on pitch in a deep, rich hue. Pauses and silences in Gesualdo's setting are profoundly felt, and there is no "hole" in the vocal line even when there is silence.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St. Alban the Martyr Church, London, England (09/2012).


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Works Details

>Gesualdo, Carlo : Responsories (9), Sabbato Sancto
  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Ensemble: Tenebrae
  • Running Time: 38 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: 1611

>Gesualdo, Carlo : Miserere Mei, Deus, motet for 6 voices, W. 7/92
  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Running Time: 8 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1611

>Tomás Luis de Victoria (Composer) (circa 1548 - 1611) : Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae :: In primo nocturno. Lectio 1
  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Running Time: 5 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Tomás Luis de Victoria (Composer) (circa 1548 - 1611) : Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae :: In primo nocturno. Lectio 2
  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Running Time: 4 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance

>Tomás Luis de Victoria (Composer) (circa 1548 - 1611) : Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae :: In primo nocturno. Lectio 3
  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Running Time: 7 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance