Gesualdo: Six books of madrigals for five voices

Newton Classics: 8802136

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Gesualdo: Six books of madrigals for five voices

Catalogue No:




Release date:

2nd July 2012




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Gesualdo: Six books of madrigals for five voices


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

CD - 6 discs


Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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.

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