MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos 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

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613)
Madrigals, Book 3 (Madrigali libro terzo, 1595)
Delitiae Musicae/Marco Longhini
Carmen Leoni (harpsichord)*;
rec. 27 July-1 August, 2008, Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli, Azzago, Verona, Italy. DDD
NAXOS 8.572136 [68:37]

Experience Classicsonline

Voi volete ch'io mora [1:34]
Moro o non moro, omai non mi negate [2:59]
Ahi, disperata vita [2:15]*
Languisco e moro [4:54]
Del bel de'bei vostri occhi [2:36]
Ahi, dispietata e cruda [3:35]
Dolce spirto d'Amore [3:31]*
Sospirava il mio core [2:52]
O mal nati messaggi [3:11]
Veggio, si, dal mio sole [2:39]
Non t'amo, o voce ingrata [2:48]*
Meraviglia d'Amore [1:23]
Ed ardo e vivo, Dolce aura gradita [1:56]
Crudelissima doglia [3:32]
Se piange, ohime [3:56]
Ancidetemi pur, grievi martiri [3:53]
Se vi miro pietosa [2:41]*
Deh, se gia fu crudele al mio [2:41]
Dolcissimo sospiro [3:52]
Donna, se m'ancidete [3:01]*
Come vivi cor mio [4:38]*
All'ombra degl'allori [4:06]*

This is the third release in a prize of a series of the madrigals by the enigmatic (and mercifully not (yet) cult) composer, Carlo Gesualdo. The first and second CDs from Naxos were favourably received on MusicWeb. So is this.
Gesualdo moved slowly but unmistakably from the conventional to the almost experimental. His later madrigals were certainly chromatic - famously dissonant at times. This third volume was published in Ferrara in 1595 by Vittorio Baldini, and reprinted three more times before 1619 in Venice. It is full of what would be surprises, if you didn't know the composer and which still shock, if you do. The texts were chosen for their impact, their images, and their ability to sustain such musical sentiments and experiences as tension, contrast, jolts from the norm and perverse or contrary reaction.
They're not gratuitously or spuriously eccentric, though. There is a logic to the way in which the emotion - usually human love and desire - is portrayed. Just what these are emotions that must be acknowledged rather than acquiesced in. Gesualdo is entering the real world of love, hurt, longing, regret. He's not reproducing a formulaic analogue thereof. This is in large part because Gesualdo, beholden to no-one because of his social and economic status, was able to choose whose poetry he wanted; not that imposed by the whims of a patron. Guarini and Arlotti figure prominently as poets; most of the rest of the twenty madrigals are anonymous. There are two tracks of works from the few secular pieces not contained in the six books of madrigals by Gesualdo which this series will eventually comprise.
Significantly, the madrigals were also published in partitura (as scores) so that such impact could be accentuated by their study. Further, it's to the advantage of listener, performer and composer that such close attention is paid to Gesualdo's music in this way: for all that he was concerned more in this third book with the pure sound of the marriage of text and song, they are so dense, intense and studied (all good qualities) that they truly repay repeated close listening. Something new, delightful, exciting and fresh will emerge each time.
Performers of this music thus have a challenge: do they present the music 'straight' with little or no expression? This would in the first place allow its strong characteristics to emerge with slightly different emphases each time and in the second avoid imposing imagined or (worse) modern sensibilities on what must have been an extraordinary aural experience at the end of the sixteenth century. Then, do they infuse it with their own studied conclusions about the stretched tempi, the pauses, the chromaticism, the dwelling on certain phrases, the tortured combinations of notes, the rich yet almost self-conscious use of the basso profundo and counter-tenor voices?
Delitiae Musicae under the expert direction of Marco Longhini have obviously thought about this very carefully. Blander would not be the way to describe some of the other versions of this collection which are available - the sprightly one on CPO 777138 by the Gesualdo Consort under Harry Van der Kamp, for instance. But the seven Italian singers - and Carmen Leoni (harpsichord) in half a dozen or so madrigals - veer without doubt towards the utterly expressive. This, just as they did in the earlier volumes of this highly collectible series from Naxos.
Importantly, their delivery decidedly avoids the mannered or indulgent. At first hearing the way they hold some notes, take a generally slow yet neither sedate nor muddy pace, and enunciate certain key syllables - especially at the end of lines - will probably pull you up short. But repeated listenings only serve to reveal the depth and the beauty of Gesualdo's achievement. Your attention is folded back into the text and the melodic development, the musical texture and power of the combination of these that Gesualdo has achieved so thoroughly, yet seemingly so effortlessly.
Also noteworthy is the variety that Gesualdo achieved - for all his dwelling on similar topics. The sequence of the madrigals as sung here is full of variety. Yet the singers plant their stamp, their professionalism, technical aplomb, expressiveness and gentle persuasion as to just how good this music is onto each madrigal in turn.
The acoustic is close and warm, intense and totally amenable to the need that we focus our full attention on every nuance, syllable and musical shade. The short booklet is informative and contains background, details of the performers as well as the texts in Italian and English translation.
Mark Sealey






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

Past 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.