Review By SteveHoltje,Culture Catch,January 2012
Culture Catch Best of 2011: #23
Music of incredible harmonic intensity and originality, given eminently precise and interpretively apt performances. Another commendable series on Naxos. © 2012 Culture Catch See complete list
Review By Fabrice Fitch,Gramophone,November 2011
More exhilarating despair from music’s most famous murderer
With his third book of madrigals, the defining features of Gesualdo’s style appear in earnest, and Delitiæ Musicæ’s complete survey seems to me also to step up a gear. The balance between high and lower voices is better negotiated, and the distracting interventions of the ensemble’s continuo player are reined in.
Review By Catherine Moore,American Record Guide,November 2011
…Delitiae Musicae create very different effects are their extensive color palette and their ability to tighten or loosen the way the five voices are bound together…
Very fine notes by Longhini; texts and translations.
To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.
Review By Ralph Moore,MusicWeb International,September 2011
This beautifully presented disc is the third in a sequence of six covering Gesualdo’s entire output of madrigals and secular works. The first two issues attracted an enthusiastic critical reception; this third is of particular interest in that it marks the turning point in Gesualdo’s musical idiom from a more conventional style to that for which he is most celebrated: arresting dissonances, a marked intensity, concision and directness of address to create pathos and drama. In other words, as one reviewer elsewhere aptly puts it, “seriously weird”.
Review By Mark Sealey ,MusicWeb International,August 2011
This is the third release in a prize of a series of the madrigals by the enigmatic (and mercifully not (yet) cult) composer, Carlo Gesualdo. The first and second CDs from Naxos were favourably received on MusicWeb. So is this.
Review By Jeff Simon,The Buffalo News,July 2011
The annals of artistic sublimity aren’t exactly bursting with scandalous tales of murder. In the case of the great and hugely influential painter Caravaggio, there is even a tenuous relationship between the revolutionary art and the tempestuous proletarian life of the artist. In the case of Carlo Gesualdo de Venosa, the extraordinary harmonic daring and beauty of the music might seem the very opposite of the scandalous life of the wealthy prince who had his wife and her lover murdered in their bed after being caught in flagrante delicto. Marco Longhini, who conducted this gorgeous disc of Gesualdo’s Madrigals Book 3 writes in the notes that the general view of society at the time was “that a love strong enough to overcome social mores and ultimately to be worth
Review By Matthew Martinez,ConcertoNet.com,July 2011
“Ah, why is beauty a flower that charms the eye but pains the heart?” If one replaces “eye” with “ear” you have a perfect description of Gesualdo’s Third Book of Madrigals as recorded here by Delitiae Musicae. This verse from track number 14, “Crudelissima doglia” (Cruelest sorrow), laments an unrequited love and the resulting pain. The twenty madrigals on this disc (the last two tracks are bonuses), were composed at a dark time in the Italian prince-composer’s life. Having discovered his dear wife’s infidelity, Gesualdo murdered her out of rage. While the crime was legally considered to be one of “honor” due to his wife’s betrayal, the composer felt the need to express his very real and
In fact, there is a brilliant narrative arc to the entire book that is portrayed on this disc. Over the twenty madrigals we see a lover who pines for the target of his affections, is briefly accepted by his love and joyous (tracks 10–13), only to be shortly thereafter spurned and then plunged into an even deeper depth of anguish. Such tales are often the stuff of melodramatic fancy, but in this case we are presented with a real-life case in Gesualdo. It is safe to say that the musical world is the beneficiary of the composer’s torment as these unique and vivid compositions are stunningly beautiful.
In lesser-skilled hands, this music would be treacherous. It is full of subtle nuance, dramatic work coloring and temporal spaciousness, to say nothing of the vocal challenges. Delitiae Musicae, under the direction of Marco Longhini, add to their impressive catalogue of recordings and perform splendidly. In fact, the group’s musicality and intimacy of ensemble is nothing short of breathtaking. Entrances are flawless and intonation impeccable. The pieces often have rhythmless moments that are suspended in time and Delitiae Musicae achieves maximum effect in these musical canvases without a shred of artifice. Take for example track eight, “Sospirava il mio core” (My heart was sighing), in which there is a detectable pulse that fades into nothingness on the phrase “L’anima spiro!” (I give up my soul). It is a stunning and effective transition to a substantial silence leading to the second half of the song.
Such musical sensitivity matters for very little without skilled vocalists, and every member of the ensemble is outstanding. Countertenor Alessandro Carmignani sings with remarkable control. His sound is always beautiful, with a bit of cover. This obscures the intonation very slightly on cadences with his fellow singers who sing with a bit more brightness of vowel, but it is still a remarkable and pleasing instrument. The decays, glissandi and messa di voce effects are remarkably tasteful and effective. The group includes harpsichordist Carmen Leoni on seven tracks in an effective and seamless accompaniment that only adds to the group’s