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Gesualdo, Carlo - Madrigali, Libri primo & secondo (2CD) - Agnew, Paul


kr. 149,95 - Varen er midlertidigt udsolgt.

VINDER AF GRAMOPHONE CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS 2020 i kategorien 'Early Music'.
"Jeg synes, det er rimeligt at sige, at Kelemen, Frang, Katalin Kokas, Altstaedt og Alexander Lonquich sælger dette elskværdige produkt af ungdommelig kreativt overskud mere sikkert end nogen af deres forgængere på cd..." skriver Edward Breen for Gramphone.


About Carlo Gesualdo: The Books of Madrigals
"To understand and interpret the music of Carlo Gesualdo it is first necessary to come to some comprehension of the character of the man, but such an understanding is at the very least elusive, complicated and contradictory.

Gesualdo was born in 1566, the second son of Fabrizio Gesualdo and Girolama Borromeo. These were no
ordinary families. Fabrizio’s brother Alfonso was made Cardinal by Pope Pius IV, while Girolama was niece to
Pope Pius IV and was also the sister to Carlo Borromeo (after whom the composer was named), also Cardinal
and later, Saint. As the second born son, Carlo Gesualdo was himself destined to the church, and with little
doubt, to an important role in the footsteps of his illustrious uncles.
That, however, was to change suddenly with the death of his elder brother in 1584. Leaving his studies in Rome, Carlo returned to the family home in Gesualdo near Naples, to prepare to inherit one of the largest fortunes in southern Italy. As an important part of this preparation, it was essential that Carlo marry and produce further Princes of Venosa. A marriage was hastily arranged, and at the age of 20, Carlo was wedded to his first cousin Maria d’Avalos, a woman four years his senior, already a serial widow and a celebrated beauty. She was said to be of such loveliness that men found her
irresistible, and sadly, she herself did not resist the advances of the most handsome cavalier of the city, Fabrizio Carafa. On being told of the affair by his uncle Giulio Gesualdo (reportedly inspired by jealously, since he too was infatuated by the lovely Maria), Carlo arranged to catch the adulterous couple together in Maria’s rooms, and brutally murdered them both on 16 October 1590. Such was Carlo Gesualdo’s life until this date, and still four years before a note of his secular music had been published.

Although scandalous and violent, Carlo’s double aritistocratic murder of his first wife is only obliquely relevant
to his life as a musician. Without doubt, the man who prepared himself for a life in the service of the church
was forever deeply scarred by an act of such brutality (a mortal sin in the Catholic church), and the memory
of it may well have been contributory to the conflicted psychological state of his mind at the end of his life, and to important elements in the composition of his sacred works. But for the madrigals it is difficult, even in the most extreme experiments of the final books, to make a cogent argument for any relationship between the events of 1590 and his secular compositions. I hope, throughout the cycle to argue that even the final, and most musically extreme works of Gesualdo are the result of a logical and intellectually defensible development
towards a chromaticism that was not as revolutionary as might at first be presumed, and not without recedence
or antecedents as is often suggested.
It is possible that his contemporaries would have been less shocked by his debasement as a publicly named
murderer, than they might have been bemused by his decision to become a publicly published composer. Carlo
Gesualdo, descendant of the most noble Roger the Norman, Duke of Puglia and Calabria, Count of Conza and Prince of Venosa, would need to stoop very low in social status to assume the role of common musician, but such was his fervent desire from an early age. His father Fabrizio was an enthusiastic music lover and perhaps even occasional (anonymous) composer and maintained a group of musicians in his house. Carlo would have heard
music, and met composers and poets from a youthful age. Music became an obsession of Gesualdo from very
early in his life, and would be one of the few constants in his itinerant future and debatably his only true love.

We can presume that Gesualdo composed from a relatively early age, but Naples was not at that time at the
forefront of musical advancement in realm of madrigal composition. The city states whose musical establishments were already celebrated were to be found in the north of Italy, from Rome, to Florence, and in Mantua, Venice and particularly Ferrara. It was therefore, an almost divine coincidence that in 1594 Gesualdo received a proposition that must have seemed to him, heaven sent.

The Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso II d’Este, the noblesse of the city was without an heir and in a very delicate
situation. It had previously been decreed that should he die without a son and heir, his property and titles
would be ceded to the Papacy and the family riches would be forfeited. The Duke had married three times
without progeny, and now turned towards more diplomatic ways of influencing the Curia to grant him his
lands in perpetuity. One of the most influential cardinals in the negotiations, and the most negative to his cause, had been Alfonso Gesualdo, the uncle of Carlo. The Duke of Ferrara calculated that a marriage between his cousin, Leonora d’Este and the recently ‘widowed’ Carlo Gesualdo, on generous terms, might influence Cardinal Alfonso in his favour. Understandably, such a marriage, regardless of the affections of the participants (of which there was little or no evidence) would put Carlo Gesualdo at the very center of Italy’s most experimental musical community.

In 1593 Gesualdo married Leonora d’Este in Ferrara, where the ceremonies took place at the beginning of the following year. He arrived there with an enormous retinue in people and baggage, among which was to be found five manuscript part-books of his own madrigals. These manuscripts were quickly prepared for printing. Gesualdo’s intent could not be clearer. He had arrived in the most celebrated musical court in Italy, had joined its ruling family and now presented himself as supplicant to the musical luminaries that surrounded him. He dreams of being considered part of the musical establishment regardless of his nobility and wealth. With his illustrious marriage to Leonora d’Este, Gesualdo has achieved the first step in his life ambition; to dedicate his life not to his wife, but to music.

I was first attracted to the madrigal repertoire, and particularly to the works of Claudio Monteverdi, because it is clear that composers of the time used the madrigal as a laboratory for dramatic experimentation. The courts of Mantua and Ferrara, and, to a certain extent the ensembles to be found in Rome, Venice and Florence interested themselves in the dramatic potential of music, and its capacity to amplify the emotions found in the
text. These experiments would inevitably lead to the disappearance of the consorted madrigal in favour of the power and theatre of monody and eventually, opera. Understanding this transition brings us to a much greater
understanding of the music that follows in the 150 years that we call ‘Baroque’. Monteverdi’s music leads us inexorably towards monody. The music of Carlo Gesualdo however, whilst being equally experimental, leads us elsewhere and the reason for our series of performances and recordings is to find out where. We have to ask fundamental questions. Does his reputation as a murderer tempt us to search in his music elements of violence and perversion that are simply not there? The sweet beauty of the first two books of madrigals published just after his second marriage, only four years after the murders give no hint of the demonic madman we like to imagine. Is the harmonic experimentation of the fifth and six books an attempt at extreme modernity as Craft and Stravinsky would have us believe, or, on the contrary, the coming to fruition of an intellectual research that had been going on constantly in Ferrara since the 1550s? These are among the questions I am hoping to answer, for myself and for the listener in embarking on our performances of the wonderful music of Gesualdo."
PAUL AGNEW
Fakta
Varenummer HAF890530708
Stregkode 3149020938317
Udgivelsesdato 22-11-2019
Kategori Klassisk musik
Plademærke Harmonia Mundi
Medie Type CD
Antal enheder 2
Kunstnere
Dirigenter Agnew, Paul
Komponister Gesualdo, Carlo
Kunstnere Les Arts Florissants
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