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Gesualdo: Quinto Libro di Madrigali [CD]

Hilliard Ensemble, Carlo Gesualdo Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £16.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Composer: Carlo Gesualdo
  • Audio CD (2 April 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B00753M9UY
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,626 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Gioite Voi Col Canto 2:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. S'io Non Miro Non Moro 2:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Itene, O Miei Sospiri 2:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Dolcissima Mia Vita 2:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. O Dolorosa Gioia 3:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Qual Fora, Donna 1:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Felicissimo Sonno 2:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Se Vi Duol Il Mio Duolo 2:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Occhi Del Mio Cor Vita 2:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Languisce Al Fin 3:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Mercè Grido Piangendo 3:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. O Voi, Troppo Felici 1:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Correte, Amanti, a Prova 2:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Asciugate I Begli Occhi 3:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Tu M'uccidi, O Crudele 3:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Deh, Coprite Il Bel Seno 2:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Poichè L'avida Sete (Prima Parte) 2:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Ma Tu, Cagion (Seconda Parte) 2:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen19. O Tenebroso Giorno 2:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Se Tu Fuggi, Io Non Resto 1:56£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen21. T'amo, Mia Vita 2:20£0.99  Buy MP3 


Product Description

Product Description

Over 20 years after their first recorded foray into Gesualdo with his Tenebrae Responsories on ECM, The Hilliard Ensemble turn again to the music of the Italian nobleman, this time to sing the entire Fifth Book of Madrigals.

An aristocrat who forged an idiosyncratic style of musical expression, Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, was one of those composers in music history who can truly be described as being ahead of his time: the creator of a harmonic language bold almost to the point of anarchy, whose every unpredictable interval was viewed with suspicion by the opponents of musical autonomy and guardians of liturgically based sacred music. A friend of Torquato Tasso and founder of his own academy, to which many leading madrigalists of the 16th and early 17th centuries belonged, Gesualdo was a highly expressive composer and a virtuoso performer on the bass lute.

Yet his chromatic progressions baffled his contemporaries and had to wait until the 19th-century era of high Romantic period to find resonance in artistic parallels. Among his most important compositions are six books of five-part madrigals dating from between 1594 and 1611. The last two books in particular - this recording by the Hilliard Ensemble brings new performances of Book 5 - displays his dissonant musical language with its extreme harmonic disruptions, striking tempo contrasts and a distinctly modern feel for drama.

The Hilliard Ensemble's expressive singing, here also featuring soprano Monika Mauch and countertenor David Gould, conjures up that sound described by the great music historian Hans Redlich as growing out of "the antithesis between extravagant/debauched eroticism and self-castigating longing for death".

Personnel: The Hilliard Ensemble: Monika Mauch (soprano), David James (countertenor), David Gould (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Steven Harrold (tenor), Gordon Jones (baritone)


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Right music, wrong ensemble 26 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Do we really need another recording of Gesualdo's Fifth book of madrigals? Probably not. After all, we already have three very fine recordings by Metamorphoses, La Venexiana and Kassiopeia Quintet, all of whom take a decidedly different approach to the Hilliard Ensemble. My problem with the Hilliards approach (hence the measly 3 stars) is that they're not suited to this music. No one does spiritual madrigals and motets better than the Hilliards (their Gesualdo 'Tenebrae' for ECM is awesome and if you aren't familiar with that work check out my lengthy review on Amazon), but the Fifth book of madrigals is thoroughly secular and not suited to the Hilliards 'spiritual' tone. Their interpretations of these madrigals are too restrained, too polite, too buttoned-up, too bloodless, too solemn, too lacking in sexual energy. Yes, these are love songs, twisted love songs sometimes, but songs about the ups and downs of romance, sexual desire, physical love, rampant carnality and all that entails. There's an orgasm in pretty much every madrigal here, but you'd never know that by listening to the Hilliard Ensemble, who have added a soprano in an attempt to spice things up a bit - sadly it doesn't work. Compare the Hilliards approach to La Venexiana and you'll notice the staggering differences and the deficiencies of the Hilliard CD. La Venexiana bring out the warmth, the tenderness, the aching sensuality, the poignant frustrations, the crushing despair that is woven through these stunning madrigals.

The Hilliard Ensemble would be better off doing a complete version of Gesualdo's Sacrae Cantiones since no one has so far recorded those spiritual works in their entirety for the required five voices.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinque Stelle for Quinto Libro 10 April 2012
By degrant
Format:Audio CD
20 years ago the Hilliard Ensemble released one of their greatest recordings, "Tenebrae", the two cd set of Gesualdo's Responsporia. With admirable symmetry and sense of timing, they now turn to Gesualdo's Fifth Book of Madrigals also composed in 1611. Both recordings are undeniably the work of the same composer and this release enables one betterto appreciate the influences of the madrigals in the sacred compositions for Holy Week. Here the ensemble are augmented by second countertenor David Gould and soprano Monika Mauch each of whom has collaborated previously with the Ensemble but never together with Mauch's haunting tones in particular adding even greater colour to the sound. At the risk of stating the obvious the singing is first rate and has been wonderfully captured as always and the entire release and packaing bears the trademark aesthetic sensibility of ECM.

While this is a purely personal choice my favourite is the fifth track "O Dolorossa Gioia" but the quality is constant across the entire hour of music. Whether this becomes a reference recording in the same way "Tenebrae" did only time will tell but, for the moment, simply enjoy the beauty on display.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Rejoice in song, while I weep and sigh" 16 April 2013
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Between death and desire, Eros and Thanatos. The little death, and the real one. If you picture Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, homicide and penitent, sitting in a gloomy castle, real Italian gothic, brooding in shadows, something stirring behind the arras...you've come to the right place.

Madrigals are often in danger of sounding merely as a confused hubbub, men and women all singing over each other. The Hilliard Ensemble have the advantage, steeped in choral music as they are, of sounding like a team. This line up comprises soprano/countertenors/tenors/baritone and the overall effect is spooky. Morbid eroticism. I am enjoying it as a complement to my other recording Gesualdo: Quinto Libro di Madrigali which is more convivial.

A typical ECM production - lovely booklet, bold b/w photography. I can't find anything wrong with the sound.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Please don't get me wrong! The Hilliard Ensemble sing as wonderfully as ever and their interpretation is (as usual) spotless. What leaves me perplexed here is the overall production and, mind you, this is very strange too: usually ECM delivers exemplar recordings of anything, from early music, to contemporary, to jazz ... here though there are some problems and, in my opinion, some very wrong choices have been made, especially considering that we are dealing with the 5th book of madrigals by Gesualdo da Venosa: quite likely the most unusual (dissonant ? unruly ? anarchic ?) music produced during the Reinassance. So: what are the most evident faults here ? First: the voices are recorded as if the singers were at the other end of a corridor, in an enormous empty room; Second: you have the impression that the sound technician has been HEAVY handed on the "reverb" (maybe it's just the result of natural resonance but sounds confused all the same) - I do not like too "dry" poliphony, but here we have wonderful voices sounding baffling low and muddled: precisely NOT what you need to appreciate Gesualdo ! The (dis)harmonies are unclear and the various transitions and imitations are often lost in a warm yet overpolished mix-up of echoes ! Pity because the Hilliard Ensemble would have been my first choice as singers, but in this cd their talent is utterly wasted !
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