Carlo Gesualdo – Madrigals, Book 6

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– Composer: Carlo Gesualdo {Gesualdo di/da Venosa} (8 March 1566 — 8 September 1613)
– Performers: Ensemble “Métamorphoses”
– Conductor: Maurice Bourbon
– Year of recording: 1996

Madrigals for 5 voices, Book 6 {Il Sesto libro di Madrigali}, written in 1611.

00:00:00 – 01. Se la mia morte brami
00:03:34 – 02. Beltà, poi che t’assenti
00:06:55 – 03. Tu piangi, o Filli mia
00:10:04 – 04. Resta di darmi noia
00:13:12 – 05. Chiaro risplender suole
00:17:41 – 06. “Io parto” e non più dissi
00:20:47 – 07. Mille volte il dì moro
00;23:57 – 08. O dolce mio tesoro
00:26:43 – 09. Deh, come invan sospiro
00:29:25 – 10. Io pur respiro in così gran dolore
00:32:20 – 11. Alme d’amor rubelle
00:34:17 – 12. Càndido e verde fiore
00:36:32 – 13. Ardita Zanzaretta
00:39:46 – 14. Ardo per te, mio bene
00:43:08 – 15. Ancide sol la morte
00:45:33 – 16. Quel “no” crudel que la mia speme ancise
00:47:53 – 17. Moro, lasso, al mio duolo
00:51:28 – 18. Volan quasi farfalle
00:54:23 – 19. Al mio gioir il ciel si fa sereno
00:56:54 – 20. Tu segui, o bella Clori
00:59:15 – 21. Ancor che per amarti
01:02:34 – 22. Già piansi nel dolore
01:05:07 – 23. Quando ridente e bella

Gesualdo’s 6th book of Madrigals reveal the composer’s fully mature style, and was written in imitation and rivalry, a common practice among madrigal composers, of Nenna’s works. Especially notable are Gesualdo’s chromaticism, modal counterpoint, and rhythmic invention in these 23 madrigals.

Like early ethnomusicologists who superimposed Western notation and ideas on ethnic music before asking the “natives” how they conceived of their own music (thus making many erroneous assumptions), puzzled commentators on Gesualdo’s music have often utilized standard harmonic analysis instead of approaching the music from the ideas of counterpoint and modality that were prevalent in his time. Basically, the unusual chromatic progressions in Gesualdo’s work are the result of raising and lowering individual voices by half steps as a kind of expressive timbre modulation, a brightening (adding sharps) or darkening (adding flats), tied to the meaning of the words. For example, the (in-)famous madrigal No. 17 “Moro, lasso, al mio duolo” (I die, languishing, of grief) opens with the slowly descending, sighing chords C sharp major, A minor, B major, G major, and cadences normally E dominant seventh to A minor. The first two chords and the next set of two chords both suggest some Wagnerian progression centuries ahead of its time, but in fact the writing is purely modal with these chromatic modifications to add expression. Many of the madrigals open with unusual progressions by minor and major third roots in block harmonies and then proceed toward straight, unmodified modal counterpoint in faster subdivisions of the main tempo; for example, No. 15 “Death alone can kill”…A major to C sharp major to A major ), No. 21 “Even though, through love of you, I am consumed”…E major to G minor), No. 2 “Beauty, since you depart”…G minor to E major), No. 6 ” ‘I go’, and no more, I said, for the pain”…starts in a harmonic minor and later offers E diminished to B major to C minor, etc.), etc.

By contrast, many other madrigals are in a straightforward modal style, and are sometimes played instrumentally for variety when a performance is given of the entire Book. For example, Nos. 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, and 18. Expressive cascading imitations can be found in Nos. 14 (on the words “ardo per te” — I burn for you), 13 on “Fuggi poi,” 21 on “rimirar suole,” 3, 23, 19, and several others. Rare skips by a large interval into a dissonance can be found in Nos. 4 and 13 with its spectacularly modulated extended ending. Gesualdo is also especially fond of Spanish-type Lydian mode cadences, especially throughout No. 7, and provides a lovely Mixolydian mode beginning for No. 22. Gesualdo is also fond of subdividing lines and syllables and of the emphatic pause effect, especially in No. 10 “Io pur respiro in così gran dolore” (Even in agony, I still breathe) where “respiro” is divided up to suggest someone gasping for air.


Adrián L.S says:

vine por "voz de reddit"

k1001001 says:

1:08 I've heard a lot of Gesualdo madrigals and never noticed him using polyrhythms or syncopation like that before. Excellent flourish.

Nandi Álvarez says:

everybody gangsta till Gesualdo pulls up with a chainsaw

Ryo Hagitani says:

I'm surprised not only that there was a composer like this at that time but more surprised by the fact there were people who appreciated such sound.

Jakub Krajňák says:

0:34 If he only knew what he did… iiø7 –> V!!! Magnificent

marcos aquino says:

Nesse contraponto a ideia da fuga já está presente…, com maestria e a sonoridade que a renascença admirava. As vozes formando acordes incríveis.

Richard Westwood says:

This gentleman, by posting these treasures, reveals to us the heights of the human spirit and the unfathomable mystery of life worth living. We'll be always grateful to you dear sir.

meloDICA says:

simply gorgeous

Jaci Handley says:

Not me about to ask how this was recorded 🤦🏼‍♀️

Musical Madman says:

Well he did write beautiful songs, though he was a prince that was a murderer. That I heard of anyways.

Ivanildo Ramos says:

Ótima melodia, um pedaço de céu na Terra!

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