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Carlo Gesualdo: Madrigals Book 1

Album Summary

>Gesualdo, Carlo : Madrigals, Book 1
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, became famous for two reasons: the bloody double murder of his first wife and her lover and his passionate and erotic view of profane love. Brimming with often astonishing and sometimes unpredictable melodic and tonal contrasts to express the agonies and ecstasies of love, Gesualdo's Madrigals show him to have been one of the most inventive and eccentric musical minds of his age. This is the first disc in a series of the complete recordings of Gesualdo's madrigals.

"They see no need to play up the extraordinary nature of Gesualdo, or his harmonies etc. Rather, Longhini and his five male singers have placed the totality of this music squarely in the tradition of Italian Renaissance music. The result here is a compelling, melodious and satisfying blend of words and music that can stand its own with other exponents of the genre... The acoustic is close yet far from claustrophobic. We should eagerly await further volumes in this series." -Classical.net

"The ensemble is very tight, individual voices are clear, but very well matched, and the give and take of the pulse is superbly crafted by Longhini. To do this music at all an ensemble must have experience, discipline, and practice; to perform it at the highest level the additional gifts of expression, style, heartfelt pulse, and imagination are essential. I look forward to future releases from this series. Notes, texts, and translations...After you have bought this one, it will prove a fine companion."-American Record Guide

"The six male voices of Delitiae Musicae seize upon every opportunity to point the way towards the later more radical madrigals, gently underlining passing dissonances, and bringing the texts that so sharply contrast joy and sorrow, vividly to life." -The Guardian ****

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli, Azzago, Verona, Italy (07/23/2007-07/27/2007).


Gesualdo Madrigals Book 1
The Italian nobleman Carlo Gesualdo was a late-Renaissance composer, lutenist, harpsichordist, and guitarist. Little is known of his early life. Gesualdo is famous for two things: his highly expressive madrigals, which use a chromatic language not heard again until the 19th century; and for the cold-blooded murders of his first wife and her lover. Even when young, he was passionately devoted to music and showed little interest in anything else. In 1586 he married his first cousin, Donna Maria d'Avalos, daughter of the Marquis of Pescara, who began an affair in 1588 with Fabrizio Carafa, Duke of Andria. Even though the affair was well-known, she somehow concealed it from her husband for almost two years. After hearing of the affair, Gesualdo feigned departure on a hunting trip; with help from servants, he returned at night, butchered the pair in her bed, and publicly displayed the mutilated bodies outside his castle. Though immune from prosecution, he feared revenge, so fled from Gesualdo, near Naples, to Ferrara, then an Italian center of progressive musical activity. He married again, returned to his castle at Gesualdo in 1595, and became a recluse. In later life, he became chronically depressed. Between 1594 and 1611, Gesualdo composed six books of madrigals. This CD contains Book 1, written in 1594, when Gesualdo was in Ferrara. All are for five voices. The singing is exemplary and the recording is crystal-clear; this CD is warmly recommended for lovers of the late Renaissance era. Ted Wilks
Submitted on 05/04/10 by Ted Wilks 
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Works Details

>Gesualdo, Carlo : Madrigals, Book 1
  • Performer: Carmen Leoni (Harpsichord)
  • Conductor: Marco Longhini
  • Notes: Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli, Azzago, Verona, Italy (07/23/2007-07/27/2007)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Renaissance
  • Written: 1594