Gesualdo: Madrigali Books 1-6

Album cover art for upc 8718247711369
Catalog: 8802136
Format: CD

Gesualdo: Six books of madrigals for five voices Gesualdo: Madrigali libro primo, 1594 Madrigali libro secondo, 1594 Madrigali libro terzo, 1595 Madrigali libro quarto, 1596 Madrigali libro quinto, 1611 Madrigali libro sesto, 1611 Karla Schlean (soprano), Clara Foti (mezzo-soprano), Elena Mazzoni (contralto), Rodolfo Farolfi (tenor), Gastone Sarti (baritone) & Dmitri Nabokov (bass) Quintetto Vocale Italiano

A fascinating compilation detailing the highly expressive music of Prince, composer and murderer Carlo Gesualdo – one of history’s most colourful figures. Gesualdo’s first six books of madrigals remain his best-known music. While Nos. 1 and 2 rely on mastery of traditional counterpoint, it is in Books 3 and 4 that Gesualdo’s compositional idiosyncrasies – subtle rhythmic irregularities and unusual harmonic intervals – begin to dominate. By the time we reach the final two books, a fully mature style is in evidence: abounding in rich chromaticism, these collections contain a wealth of striking songs in which extremes of emotion are represented. 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. First complete recording of this dramatic and historically significant body of music: a hugely important set in the wider dissemination of Gesualdo’s oeuvre. Sung texts available from

Price: $45.98