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Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Madrigals)
William Christie
Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Madrigals)
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1

In music circles, the name Carlo Gesualdo is usually followed by a strange look, knowing smile, or whimsical comment. The 16th-century Italian composer was nothing if not colorful, and his startlingly unusual music reflect...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: William Christie
Title: Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Madrigals)
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Harmonia Mundi (France)
Release Date: 2/12/1992
Album Type: Import
Genres: Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Forms & Genres, Sonatas
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 3149025010759, 093046126827

Synopsis

Amazon.com
In music circles, the name Carlo Gesualdo is usually followed by a strange look, knowing smile, or whimsical comment. The 16th-century Italian composer was nothing if not colorful, and his startlingly unusual music reflects an avant-garde approach to just about all aspects of his craft. Apart from his music, Gesualdo, Prince of Verona, was famously known for murdering his adulterous wife. In his music, especially his madrigals, he seemed to pay no attention to convention, or even to accepted rules of harmony and melodic structure. As heard in the works on this disc, nothing is predictable, from sudden, surprising leaps, to disjointed melodies, jerky rhythms, and occasionally shocking harmonic shifts. Of course, music of this nature is difficult to sing, which is why you rarely hear these works in concert or on recordings. We are fortunate to have such skilled and imaginative interpreters as Les Arts Florissants, who present these marvelous pieces with real artistic flair and a true sense of fun. --David Vernier

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CD Reviews

Gesualdo at his finest!
M. Tierra | Santa Cruz, California USA | 02/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In Renaissance music, the madrigals of Gesualdo are a universe unto themselves. As a form, the madrigal represents a huge body of literature, much of which is rather light and entertaining. Not Gesualdo, if there was ever a dramatic madrigal-opera style, this is it. Every nuance of emotion is conveyed with beautifully startling and sudden expressionistic harmonic changes. The music seems to want to break out of itself as it reaches across centuries to find resonance in our hearts. The chromaticisms are exquisitely beautiful. You just have to let your ear adjust to it. Think expressionistic romanticism and you might get close to the feeling of this music. Gesualdo's music is fiendishly difficult to sing. The harmonies and chromaticisms offer little for the singer to hang on to. In most cases, one is just satisfied with getting through this stuff and compared with what this group does, that is all you get from other ensembles. Here you have the play of dissonant suspensions, the sudden dynamic changes on a single note, the startling break-away rhythms and tempos and overall elasticity that is vitally necessary to make this music sound. Forget about the fact that Gesualdo is the only composer in history to have been a nurder. The true story of the murder of his beautiful but faithless young wife and her lover while they were making love in bed. A crime which in Renaissance Italy, at those times, was excusable. Forget that Gesualdo is often depicted and characerized as spending the rest of his life in a dark castle cell, doing penitance and writing his twisted almost unsingable madrigals. Yes you will hear a full share of anguish and "morire's" symbolising his yearning to die for love. What this superb ensemble delivers is a Gesualdo who in the end is not simply interesting, anguished or penitential but exquisitely beautiful as a fine Carravagio painting or michelangelo sculpture of the four 'prigione' (prisoners)."
Just a note!
M. Tierra | Santa Cruz, California USA | 02/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can't imagine how one of the reviewers could describe this music as "This is grand and very comfortable music. We easily converse or work while it plays, as charming as a court musician in the next room. It is an unexpected treat" Noone that knows Gesulado's musiccould ever describe it in such terms."
Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Madrigals)
Bjorn Viberg | European Union | 08/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Madrigals)~ Carlo Gesualdo is a great recording with some of best Madigrals that I have ever heard. Gesualdo was a genius, and a bit of a lunatic that murdered his wife and her lover in bed. Singing Gesualdo's works is very demanding and requires the person to very well schooled in order for it to sound just right. Miss one note and it falls apart. The book-let is a splendid work of art with a well written essay and great liner notes. The art work is very well chosen and I would definitely recommend this amazing recording."