A fascinating compilation detailing the highly expressive music of Prince, composer and murderer Carlo Gesualdo - one of history's most colorful figures. Gesualdo's first six books of madrigals remain his best-known music.
La Compagnia del Madrigale’s subtle, yet powerful advocacy of great Italian madrigals continues with Marenzio's 'Quinto Libro di Madrigali a sei voci' from 1591. Their previous recordings including the recent award-winning 'Primo Libro', have demonstrated their fresh approach, imbued with invaluable years of experience in other groups such as La Venexiana and Concerto Italiano. From 2016 La Compagnia have been invited to join the concert season at Wigmore Hall. Marenzio’s 'Quinto Libro' was dedicated to Virginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, on the occasion of his marriage to Flavia Peretti: a wedding album full of the latest musical and poetical techniques.
The music on this disc comes from Rome in the middle seventeenth century, and it is seemingly, to use a word that recurs several times in the dense but informative booklet, paradoxical. Domenico Mazzocchi (1592-1665) was a composer who worked at the feet of popes. Yet the music here is stylistically of the sensuous seconda prattica, the operatic art of Monteverdi and his cohorts in the generation before. If the term "Counter Reformation" brings to mind music like Palestrina's, know that you get something very different here, something closer to the religious masterworks of Monteverdi's later career but on a more intimate scale.
The elegant rhetoric betrays Gesualdo's aristocratic background, and its internal contradiction neatly reflects the baffling ingenuity of his work, whose dissonances were literally centuries ahead of his time, their bold gambits regarded with suspicion by his 16th-century peers, and even now testing the imagination and ingenuity of even as accomplished a team as the Hilliard quartet.
A fascinating compilation detailing the highly expressive music of Prince, composer and murderer Carlo Gesualdo - one of history's most colorful figures. Gesualdo's first six books of madrigals remain his best-known music. Gesualdo's daring and forward-looking language was born out of his belief that music must be subservient to textual meaning, and his status as a nobleman allowed him to pursue this position unhindered. Featuring Quintetto Vocale Italiano's pioneering performance of the works, this release movingly traces the development of a composer whose intensely expressive music was centuries ahead of its time.