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Gesualdo: Sabbato Sancto Responsoria / Herreweghe


Release Date: 04/12/2005 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951320   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carlo GesualdoSandro Gorli
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gesualdo holds a rather special place in the history of music. Despite the calculatedly wayward features of style, full of strangely contorted melody lines, awkward melodic leaps, curious dissonances and strange harmonic juxtapositions, his music is inherently both conservative and elitist. It is also both technically limited and notoriously difficult to perform. Add to this the fact that the composer was an aristocrat who murdered his wife when he found her in flagrante delicto di fragrentepeccalo with the Duke of Andria, rocked his child to death in the belief that it was not his, instructed his servants to flog him daily, and spent his final days in a state of melancholia bordering on insanity, and the ingredients are present for a Read more particularly heady mixture giving rise to a good deal of mythology. It might fairly be said that it is the endless fascination of the Gesualdo Affair, with its seemingly endless possibilities for relating music to biography, that has ensured a history of appeal rather than any qualities of greatness inherent in his music.

The Tenebrae Responsories have been recorded three times before; once by a full choir, once by solo voices and, most recently and successfully, by The Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips on Gimell. Like Phillips, Philippe Herreweghe uses a medium-sized ensemble, producing a rich and sonorous tone, but despite that is still able to achieve a clean and clear overall sound with an attractively luminous quality in the upper voices. The performances of these pieces, and of the four motets which round off the Gesualdo sequence, are characterized by a firm sense of their architecture (or at least of an architecture since the composer's block technique often confounds symmetry), and by sensitive attention to details of attack and articulation particularly in the more dissonant moments. The evident care with which these interpretations have been prepared pays off handsomely, and the fierce technical demands of ensemble and pitch are surmounted with an ease bordering on brilliance.

The same might be said of the choir's account of the Requiem by the 42-year-old Italian composer Sandro Gorli, an effective work evidently influenced by the vocal writings of the Polish school, notably Lutoslawski. Initially it seems as though the reliance on cluster-techniques is set fair to become irritating, but then in the fourth section a clearer, free-wheeling style of writing of considerable beauty intrudes in response to the text, and the mood then changes again to one of anger at the final words of Christ on the cross: "Padre, padre, perché mi hai abbandanto?" Specially commissioned for this choir, it forms a suitable and at times exciting pendent to the Gesualdo settings.

-- Gramophone [12/1990]
reviewing the original release of this title, HM 901320
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Works on This Recording

1.
Responsories (9), Sabbato Sancto by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1611 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Length: 40 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2.
Ave, dulcissima Maria by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1603; Venosa, Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3.
Peccantem me quotidie by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1603; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Length: 4 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4.
Tribularer si nescirem by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1603; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5.
Tribulationem et dolorem inveni by Carlo Gesualdo
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1603; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6.
Requiem by Sandro Gorli
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Chapel European Vocal Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Length: 13 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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