One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Cantatas and Organ Works

Complete Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Simone Dinnerstein piano





Chopin Bruce Liu

Ingeneri Volume 2

Mondonville - Titon et L'Aurore

Telemann - French Cantatas 1



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Carlo GESUALDO da Venosa (1566-1613)
Madrigals - Book 1
Delitiae Musicae (Alessandro Carmignani, Paolo Costa (alto), Fabio Fùrnari, Paolo Fanciulacci (tenor), Marco Scavazza (baritone), Walter Testolin (bass), Carmen Leoni (harpsichord)*)/Marco Longhini
rec. 23-27 July 2007, Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli, Azzago, Verona, Italy. DDD
NAXOS 8.570548 [56:15]

Experience Classicsonline

Baci soavi e cari (1. Parte) [3:36]
Quanto ha di dolce amore (2. Parte) [3:15]
Madonna, io ben vorrei [3:35]
Come esser può ch'io viva? [2:41]
Gelo ha madonna il seno [2:39]
Mentre madonna (1. Parte) [2:39]
Ahi, troppo saggia (2. Parte) [2:56]
Se da si nobil mano [2:24]
Amor, pace non chero* [2:03]
Si gioioso mi fanno il dolor miei [3:32]
O dolce mio martire [2:39]
Tirsi morir volea (1. Parte) [3:21]
Frenò Tirsi il desio (2. Parte) [2:46]
Mentre, mia stella, miri [2:56]
Non mirar, non mirare [3:08]
Questi leggiadri odorosetti fiori [3:37]
Felice primavera! (1. Parte)* [2:11]
Danzan le ninfe (2. Parte)* [1:33]
Son sì belle le rose [2:31]
Bella angioletta [2:13]

Few composers have so fascinated the music world as Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa. Part of the interest has been generated by his remarkable life, especially the fact that he once murdered his wife and her lover. Musically speaking the madrigals he composed in the latter stages of his life have drawn the interest of performers and audiences as well as composers of a much later era. Among the latter is Igor Stravinsky who composed a Monumentum pro Gesualdo di Venosa, based on three of his madrigals. The late madrigals are collected in the fifth and sixth book, and move far away from the musical mainstream of his time. Until the end of his life Gesualdo stayed away from the seconda prattica and the use of a basso continuo. In his application of dissonances and chromaticism he goes further than any composer of his time.
In comparison his early madrigals are much more moderate and conventional. That is probably the main reason they haven't received as much attention as the later works. The first two madrigal books were published in the same year: 1594. They were presented as a compilation Gesualdo had published previously. Unfortunately none of these have been preserved. So it is impossible to assess how exactly Gesualdo has developed. The first two books certainly don't present him as a student. These are mature works in which the texts are effectively expressed with the musical means of the time. Although there are some dissonances in a number of madrigals, Gesualdo doesn't go to extremes in regard to harmony as in his later madrigals.
In the first book he uses texts by famous poets, like Giovanni Battista Guarini and Torquato Tasso. Several of these were also set to music by other composers of his time, for instance Claudio Monteverdi and Luca Marenzio. Gesualdo seems to have had a special liking for gloomy subjects. That is not only reflected in his madrigals, but also in his motets. It is notable, though, that the first book ends with five madrigals of a more joyful character. The titles are telling: Bella angioletta (Beautiful little angel), Felice primavera! (Happy Spring!) and Danzan le ninfe oneste (The honest nymphs and shepherds dance). Compare these with titles of madrigals like Come esser può ch'io viva (How can it be that I live), O dolce mio martire (O sweet torment of mine) or Gelo ha madonna il seno (My lady has ice in her breast).
After having completed the recording of the madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi the ensemble Delitiae Musicae have started a project to record all six books of madrigals by Gesualdo. Marco Longhini's interpretation is quite unusual in several respects. To begin with, he consistently uses only male voices in his madrigal recordings. This means that the male alto Alessandro Carmignani who takes the upper part has to sing at the top of his range most of the time. He manages to do so quite well, but now and then his voice does sound a little stressed.
Historically this practice may be defensible, two other features of this interpretation are questionable. Firstly, the frequent tempo fluctuations which are often extreme and sound unnatural to my ears. At the last line of the first madrigal, Baci soavi e cari, the music almost comes to a standstill. Secondly, the use of crescendi and diminuendi. This is an interpretational device which rather belongs to the seconda prattica which was introduced in the early 17th century. But in these madrigals it seems hardly appropriate.
In three of the madrigals the harpsichord plays colla voce. I don't understand the reasoning behind this practice nor do I understand why it is used in these particular madrigals. Musically it is unsatisfying and damages the performance. In several madrigals the last line has to be repeated, and the ensemble takes mostly too long a pause before doing so. This becomes a bit annoying after a while. It is probably meant to increase the drama, but it doesn't.
It is these mannerisms that raise my scepticism about this new recording. The singers of Delitiae Musicae are excellent, and I certainly have enjoyed much of what they do. But there are just too many questionable aspects, and because of that I can only approach this disc with considerable caution.
Johan van Veen

see also

Don Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, Count of Conza (1561† - 1613) by Len Mullenger

























Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.