Gesualdo - Sacrae cantiones | Delphian DCD34176

Gesualdo - Sacrae cantiones


In stock - available for despatch within 1 working day

Label: Delphian

Cat No: DCD34176

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 19th August 2016



The Marian Consort


Rory McCleery


Gesualdo, Carlo

Sacrarum Cantionum quinque vocibus (complete)


The Marian Consort


Rory McCleery


Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, has become notorious for the eccentricities of both his life and his music. The gruesome murder of his first wife and her lover in flagrante, his mistreatment of his second wife, his isolation at his family seat and his penchant for masochism and flagellation have all fuelled the ‘myth’ of Gesualdo as madman, deviant and tortured pariah, qualities seen to be replicated in his rule-defying music. Yet his work was admired by his contemporaries, one of them remarking that he was ‘inferior to no other composer, having discovered new inventions of composition adorned with thought and caprice so that all musicians and singers of the world have been given to marvel’.

Marking Gesualdo's 450th birthday year, this idiomatic and committed reading by Rory McCleery and The Marian Consort of the composer’s five-voice motets invites us to marvel afresh – at their pictorial immediacy, their surprising chromaticism, their melodic wordpainting and unique blend of melisma and homophony. Gesualdo turned his prodigious compositional talent to the creation of a collection of pieces that betray his obsession with his own personal sin, remorse and need for absolution. Today, they speak to us as strongly as ever.


The 19 motets for five voices are meditations on penitence and suffering, which Gesualdo depicts in music of harmonic adventure and imaginative word painting. ... In Hei mihi, Domine (Woe is me, O Lord), cries of remorse, sighs and chromaticisms alternate with prayer-like chordal writing. The consort, under the direction of countertenor Rory McCleery, sings with cool beauty and fervent expression.  Fiona Maddocks
The Observer 11 September 2016

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