Gesualdo - Tenebrae | Glossa GCDP32116

Gesualdo - Tenebrae

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Label: Glossa

Cat No: GCDP32116

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 3

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 9th April 2020





Bjorn Schmelzer


Gesualdo, Carlo

Tenebrae Responsories




Bjorn Schmelzer


There is something deeply troubling and inscrutable in Carlo Gesualdo’s music, something that any listener, even the most inexpert one, will unfailingly experience.

This most particularly holds for Tenebrae Responsoria (1611), his definitive statement, his monument, his testament. It is as if this work, firmly embedded in the framework of liturgy for the Holy Week and reaching back to the practices of the Gregorian chant, would constantly extend over its boundaries and transgress its time and setting, immediately addressing modernity, disturbing all the rules in a severe tension, reaching into something that borders on chaos and madness, within the very order and religious devotion it fully espouses.

Graindelavoix, the groundbreaking ensemble based in Antwerp and directed by Björn Schmelzer, are the ideal performers for this disquieting repertoire which originally was sung at Gesualdo’s castle and with probably only one listener in the audience: Gesualdo himself... In a tour de force lasting over three hours, recorded over ten days in summer 2019, the singers fully display all the features which, after 16 albums (all on Glossa) and hundreds of concerts, have made their sound a truly trademark one. In the words of Schmelzer, “this is our most important recording to date”.

A fascinating essay especially commissioned from Lithuanian philosopher and cultural theorist Mladen Dolar puts the music of Gesualdo into perspective, avoiding the clichés that are so often found in texts about the composer.

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