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Gesualdo / Victoria

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Audio CD, March 12, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

2013 marks the 400th anniversary of Gesualdos death. One of the most visionary composers of his time, he wrote the Tenebrae Responsories for Easter Week, and his anniversary year offers the opportunity to further explore his music, and his fascinating story, with fresh eyes and ears.

The works for Holy Saturday, featured here, remain a cornerstone of his extraordinary oeuvre.

A game-changing, risk-taking approach to composition, combined with a tortured personal life, makes Gesualdo one of the most fascinating composers in history.

Prince of Venosa, Count of Conza, nobleman, lutenist, composer and double-murderer, his life-story provides the perfect, intense back-drop to some of the most remarkable choral music ever written.

The companion work to the Responsories is a set of Lamentations by Tomás Luis de Victoria, a contemporary of Gesualdo.

Tenebrae is widely considered to be one of the finest choirs in the world, having garnered praise for their numerous award-winning recordings. Most recently, they won the BBC Music Magazine 2012 Award for Best Choral Group.

Passion and Precision is the motto of Tenebrae and its members are drawn from musical backgrounds reflecting these qualities, such as the Monteverdi Choir, the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Cathedral and Kings College, Cambridge, I Fagiolini, The Tallis Scholars, The Swingle Singers and The Kings Singers, as well as The Royal Opera House and English National Opera. This combination weaves together a huge variety of choral experience, giving the choir an exceptional range of vocal power and colour.
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Nigel Short
  • Composer: Don Carlo Gesualdo, Tomas Luis de Victoria
  • Audio CD (March 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Archiv
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,942 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 30, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This programme juxtaposes two markedly different sound-worlds in its celebration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, pairing his music with that of Tomás Luis De Victoria, whose same anniversary was two years ago.

The two composers' lives and musical idioms present a striking contrast: Gesualdo was an austere Italian aristocrat whose life post-1590 was marked by depression following his perpetration of one of the most celebrated crimes passionels of his age; de Victoria was a Spanish priest who led a serene life of unruffled devotion to God and music, dying the most celebrated composer of the time, honoured by Popes, Cardinals and Emperors.

Gesualdo's music is characterised by the alternation of slow, tortured or reflective, wildly chromatic passages with faster, diatonic sections. Any text making reference to words connected with suffering, grief, remorse and repentance is given special prominence, reflecting his inner torment. While Gesualdo exploits chromatic slides and disturbing semitone side-steps, De Victoria's style is comparatively simple, avoiding counterpoint and a relying upon solid octave and fifth interval cadences of a serene and consolatory nature, whereas the prevailing interval in Gesualdo is the "disturbing" second. Obviously this is a generalisation, as Gesualdo, too, just occasionally suggests something closer to faith or consolation, as in the great lament "Jerusalem" in his Second Responsory; correspondingly, de Victoria was not above employing "forbidden" intervals or putting dramatic emphasis upon specific words.
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