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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The facts of Carlo Gesualdo's life are perhaps as well known as his music: he caught his wife and her lover in the act, brutally murdered them both, fled her enraged family, and entered a life of seclusion where he pursued increasingly arcane and extreme musical experiments. A source of controversy with the present release may be that Les Arts Florissants director Paul Agnew argues in the booklet that the wildly experimental qualities of the last books of Gesualdo's madrigals, even found in the Book IV pieces included here, actually shouldn't be connected to the murder but were rather in the cards at the end of the long Italian madrigal tradition. Agnew has a certain amount of evidence on his side; other composers such as Luca Marenzio and the melodiously named Luzzasco Luzzaschi pursued the same kinds of innovations as Gesualdo did. Whatever one's position, these are unusually strong Gesualdo performances. What Agnew and his singers do that often eludes others is to pay attention to the texts, avoiding the agonized mannerisms common in the repertory and deploying just a hint of inflection toward speech instead of sung pitch where it's appropriate. The range of dynamics and phrasing is large -- listen to the deliciously quiet "Dolcissimo sospiro" -- and the listener's interest never flags over the substantial program. Les Arts Florissants have performed Gesualdo frequently, and they are well attuned to the tremendous tension in his music, the feeling of having no idea where the music will go next, no matter where that tension may actually have been coming from. If your Gesualdo collection is in need of a refresh from the classic recordings of Stravinsky's day, this is a fine choice; it is also a good place to start with Gesualdo for anybody. © TiVo
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Secular Vocal Music - Released October 25, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Much gossip has surrounded the double murder committed by Carlo Gesualdo, who killed his young wife and her lover when he caught them in flagrante delicto. The remorse he felt for this atrocious crime is said to have inspired the Neapolitan composer to write new harmonies, using and abusing scraping and characterful chromatisms. Paul Agnew takes aim at this widespread belief, contending that "this aristocratic double murder only indirectly influenced the musician's life." In a very interesting introductory text, the "Associate Musical Director" of the Arts Florissants sets the figure of Gesualdo back into his historical context, explaining just how his tormented psychological state would have fed into his own musical evolution, alongside the musical journeys of his peers. The same line of argument is also made by musicologist Denis Morrier in his analysis of the two first Books of Madrigals, which are presented here: "At once visionary and conservative, eccentric in language and conventional in form, these works have fascinated musicians and commentators across the ages", he writes. Following the recording of 17 madrigals from Book IV to Book VI, conducted by William Christie in 1988, this new album marks the first stage of a complete recording of Gesualdo's Madrigals, which are to be performed across three seasons at the Philharmonie de Paris. Passionate, violent, dark and burning with meaning, Gesualdo's music touches the heart and speaks to us of the doubts and contradictions of the human soul. © François Hudry/QobuzThis album was named "Gramophone Recording of the year 2020" in the"Early Music" category. 
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2013 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Secular Vocal Music - Released October 28, 2016 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released April 17, 2020 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
There is something deeply troubling and inscrutable in Carlo Gesualdo’s music, something that any listener, even the most inexpert one, will unfailingly experience. This most particularly holds for Tenebrae Responsoria (1611), his definitive statement, his monument, his testament. It is as if this work, firmly embedded in the framework of liturgy for the Holy Week and reaching back to the practices of the Gregorian chant, would constantly extend over its boundaries and transgress its time and setting, immediately addressing modernity, disturbing all the rules in a severe tension, reaching into something that borders on chaos and madness, within the very order and religious devotion it fully espouses. Graindelavoix, that groundbreaking ensemble based in Antwerp and directed by Björn Schmelzer, are the ideal performers for this disquieting repertoire which originally was sung at Gesualdo’s castle and with probably only one listener in the audience: Gesualdo himself... In a tour de force lasting over three hours, recorded over ten days in summer 2019, the singers fully display all the features which, after 16 albums (all on Glossa) and hundreds of concerts, have made their sound a truly trademark one. In words of Schmelzer, “this is our most important recording to date”. A fascinating essay especially commissioned to Lithuanian philosopher and cultural theorist Mladen Dolar puts the music of Gesualdo into perspective, avoiding the clichés that are so often found in texts about the composer. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Glossa

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Classical - Released October 28, 2016 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 25, 2013 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released March 17, 1988 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released May 21, 2012 | ECM New Series

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released April 2, 2021 | Musicube

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Classical - Released November 1, 2010 | CPO

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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released May 29, 2007 | Warner Classics International

This Apex reissue of Gesualdo recordings that originally came out on Erato in Europe is not just an example of a major label repackaging something from the backmost shelf for a quick buck, though it looks like one. These performances are by one of the pioneering and truly great vocal specialist groups in early music, A Sei Voci, a group whose future is in some doubt, as its leader and co-founder Bernard Fabre-Garrus died suddenly less than two hours before a concert in August 2006. These recordings of Don Carlo Gesualdo's Responsories were among the first made of this literature in a comprehensive sense and originally issued on LPs in the mid-'80s. Since then, the Hilliard Ensemble, the Tallis Scholars, BBC Singers, and the King's Singers have all passed this way, and it is hard to say that A Sei Voci's Gesualdo Responsories continue to outperform some of these others, though the recordings have held up surprisingly well. Pitch is sometimes wavery and changes with tape edits, vowel sounds are not always transparent, and there are a couple of sung clinkers here and there. The performances are tremendously earnest and natural, however, and are not compromised by the unwitting cheekiness apparent in some of Gesualdo recordings by English groups. Gesualdo's Responsories are his valedictory works, written for his own chapel and published within two years of his death. They are startlingly chromatic and "experimental" sounding in their high-Mannerist style, though were not so to the composer. In any event, anyone who has an interest in sacred vocal music, or even classical music in general, should know them, and the low asking price for Apex's Gesualdo: Tenebrae Responsories certainly makes it easy to do so. Budget-minded classical collectors should be aware that this is a diamond hiding as a lump of coal. The sound could be a shade better -- the short Erato CDs once available with the same recordings did sound better than this Apex issue; they are considerably quieter and less upfront. © TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released February 1, 2011 | Pan Classics

Booklet
The cruel double murder of his first wife and her lover made Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa (1566-1613), one of the most enigmatic figures in the history of music, whose work is almost obscured by the bloody drama of jealousy. The Sixth Book of Madrigals, published two years before his death, is, so to speak, the grand finale of a unique madrigal oeuvre to which the striking label of "mannerism" seems, for once, to be attached justifiably: the dissonances are in places almost painful, the word settings so colourful and varied in their imagery that there is an almost startling Modernity. The technical demand is so high that that so far only a few ensembles have dared to make a complete recording.<br< Among them was Il Complesso Barocco under Alan Curtis, whose recording from 1994 is made accessible again here. © Note1
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Classical - Released November 16, 2010 | Naxos

Booklet
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Classical - Released June 21, 2005 | Signum Records

Booklet
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released April 1, 2006 | Brilliant Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released December 10, 2014 | Stradivarius

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Classical - Released May 7, 2013 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason