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GESUALDO, C.: Madrigals, Book 1 (Madrigali libro primo, 1594) (Delitiae Musicae, Longhini)

Composer(s):Gesualdo, Carlo
Artist(s) Longhini, Marco, Conductor • Delitiae Musicae, Ensemble
Period(s) Renaissance (1400-1600)
Genre Classical Music
Category Choral - Secular
Catalogue 8.570548
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
 
MP3
USD 6.99
 

 


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.


   



Delitiae Musicae begin a complete study of Gesualdo's madrigals
Review By MW91388,January 2011

Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo's life story is prime for a Hollywood film (besides the Werner Herzog pseudo-documentary). Although his music is mysterious and hauntingly beautiful, he is also known (and perhaps mostly) for ordering the murders of his first wife, Maria d'Avalos, and her lover. This act sent him into self-imposed exile, and may have been a strong contributing factor to the darkness of his compositions.

Delitiae Musicae, having recorded the complete madrigals of Monteverdi, have now begun a survey of the complete madrigals of Gesualdo. Under the direction of Marco Longhini, this disc of the First Book of Madrigals (1594) offers Gesualdo's eccentric views on love and death with clear articulation and good use of vocal blending. Instrumental accompaniment more....



Review By Johan van Veen, musica Dei donum,November 2010

Few composers have so fascinated the music world as Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa. Part of the interest has been generated by his remarkable life, especially the fact that he once murdered his wife and her lover. Musically speaking the madrigals he composed in the latter stages of his life have raised the interest of performers and audiences as well as composers of a much later era. Among the latter is Igor Stravinsky who composed a Monumentum pro Gesualdo di Venosa, based on three of his madrigals. The late madrigals are collected in the fifth and sixth book, and move far away from the musical mainstream of his time. Until the end of his life Gesualdo stayed away from the seconda prattica and the use of a basso continuo. In his application of dissonances and

In comparison his early madrigals are much more moderate and conventional. That is probably the main reason they haven’t received as much attention as the later works. The first two madrigal books were published in the same year: 1594. They were presented as a compilation of madrigals Gesualdo had published previously. Unfortunately none of these have been preserved. So it is impossible to assess how exactly Gesualdo has developed as a composer of madrigals. The first two books certainly don’t show a composer who is still in a learning process. These are mature works in which the texts are effectively expressed with the musical means of the time. Although there are some dissonances in a number of madrigals, Gesualdo doesn’t go into extremes in regard to harmony as in his later madrigals.

In the first book he uses texts by famous poets, like Giovanni Battista Guarini and Torquato Tasso. Several of these were also set to music by other composers of his time, for instance Claudio Monteverdi and Luca Marenzio. Gesualdo seems to have had a special liking for gloomy texts. That is not only reflected by his madrigals, but by his motets as well. It is notable, though, that the first book ends with five madrigals of a more joyful character. The titles are telling: Bella angioletta (Beautiful little angel), Felice primavera! (Happy Spring!) and Danzan le ninfe oneste (The honest nymphs and shepherds dance). Compare these with titles of madrigals like Come esser può ch’io viva (How can it be that I live), O dolce mio martire (O sweet torment of mine) or Gelo ha madonna il seno (My lady has ice in her breast).

After having completed the recording of the madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi the ensemble Delitiae Musicae have started a project to record all six books of madrigals by Gesualdo. Marco Longhini’s interpretation is quite unusual in several respects. To begin with, he consistently uses only male voices in his madrigal recordings. This means that the male alto Alessandro Carmignani who takes the upper part has to sing at the top of his range most of the time. He manages to do so quite well, but now and then his voimore....

Review By Johan van Veen, musica Dei donum,November 2010

Few composers have so fascinated the music world as Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa. Part of the interest has been generated by his remarkable life, especially the fact that he once murdered his wife and her lover. Musically speaking the madrigals he composed in the latter stages of his life have raised the interest of performers and audiences as well as composers of a much later era. Among the latter is Igor Stravinsky who composed a Monumentum pro Gesualdo di Venosa, based on three of his madrigals. The late madrigals are collected in the fifth and sixth book, and move far away from the musical mainstream of his time. Until the end of his life Gesualdo stayed away from the seconda prattica and the use of a basso continuo. In his application of dissonances and

In comparison his early madrigals are much more moderate and conventional. That is probably the main reason they haven’t received as much attention as the later works. The first two madrigal books were published in the same year: 1594. They were presented as a compilation of madrigals Gesualdo had published previously. Unfortunately none of these have been preserved. So it is impossible to assess how exactly Gesualdo has developed as a composer of madrigals. The first two books certainly don’t show a composer who is still in a learning process. These are mature works in which the texts are effectively expressed with the musical means of the time. Although there are some dissonances in a number of madrigals, Gesualdo doesn’t go into extremes in regard to harmony as in his later madrigals.

In the first book he uses texts by famous poets, like Giovanni Battista Guarini and Torquato Tasso. Several of these were also set to music by other composers of his time, for instance Claudio Monteverdi and Luca Marenzio. Gesualdo seems to have had a special liking for gloomy texts. That is not only reflected by his madrigals, but by his motets as well. It is notable, though, that the first book ends with five madrigals of a more joyful character. The titles are telling: Bella angioletta (Beautiful little angel), Felice primavera! (Happy Spring!) and Danzan le ninfe oneste (The honest nymphs and shepherds dance). Compare these with titles of madrigals like Come esser può ch’io viva (How can it be that I live), O dolce mio martire (O sweet torment of mine) or Gelo ha madonna il seno (My lady has ice in her breast).

After having completed the recording of the madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi the ensemble Delitiae Musicae have started a project to record all six books of madrigals by Gesualdo. Marco Longhini’s interpretation is quite unusual in several respects. To begin with, he consistently uses only male voices in his madrigal recordings. This means that the male alto Alessandro Carmignani who takes the upper part has to sing at the top of his range most of the time. He manages to do so quite well, but now and then his voimore....

Review By Dianne Wells, The WholeNote,July 2010

…this group does a superb job of conveying the sweet and painful longings inherent in texts by Guarini and Tasso made ever so much more excruciating by Gesualdo’s dissonances, chromaticism and quick tonal discombobulations. The group’s purity of tone and precise intonation ensures that these turns are well articulated and deeply understood.





 

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