The Responsoria by Carlo Gesualdo, published in 1611, represent a remarkable emotional outpouring in sacred repertory from a composer who was living out his final years amidst melancholy thoughts and an increasingly precarious state of health. It was also significant that these Holy Week pieces should appear in the same year as the complex works in the Sixth Book of Madrigals: an association which La Compagnia del Madrigale are keen to make with their new recording of the Responsoria in a striking new release from Glossa. Having already responded to the stylistic subjectiveness of the madrigals the highly-skilled a cappella vocal ensemble (which includes singers of the calibre and experience of Giuseppe Maletto, Daniele Carnovich or Rossana Bertini) turns its attention to subject matter covering torment, suffering, blood and death.
Over three albums Gesualdo’s creative musical response to the Passion of Christ is interspersed with spiritual madrigals from some of his best-known contemporaries (Luzzaschi, Marenzio, de Macque and Vinci), whose religious texts further underline the madrigalesque nature of the Responsoria. Also included are two comparative rarities from Gesualdo’s sacred output, In te Domine speravi and Ne reminiscaris, Domine.
Once again, Marco Bizzarini supplies a fascinating booklet essay which places Gesualdo’s music in a realistic rather than “hysterical” context, buttressing the singers’ complete control of the emotional charge of this late masterpiece from the Prince of Venosa.
Choral & Song Choice
Performance ***** Recording ****
"...This disc of Gesualdo responsories surpasses all others... this is a superb recital."
Anthony Pryer - BBC Music magazine - July 2014
Music ***½ (Good/Very Good) Sound **** (Very Good)
Matthias Hengelbrock - Fono Forum magazine (Germany) - June 2014