Описание CD

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  Исполнитель(и) :
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  Наименование CD :
   Madrigaux A 5 Voix

Год издания : 2003

Компания звукозаписи : Harmonia mundi

Время звучания : 54:45

Код CD : HMC 901268

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Sacred Music (Master Works)      

Les Arts Florissants

All Music Guide

========= from the cover ==========

Art and life sensibility and violence, instinct and premeditation are inextricably intertwined in the personality of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa (1561-1613), who has come down in history as the very personification of the late Renaissance artist. Just as the arbitrary impulsiveness of action exercised in the name of aristocratic authority justified the brutal murder of his adulterous wife (the comely Maria d'Avalos whose misfortune was sung by many poets of the time), so, from the lofty position of his noble state (endowed moreover, with a vehement and visionary temperament), he could violate the rules that governed the marvellous equilibrium between poetry and music in the Italian madrigal.

We see here an erosion of the respect for the integrity of the poetic text, which is reduced to fragments, X-rayed, as it were, by the music in vivid but disjointed images. We see an angular design of the melodic phrase, widely spaced intervals and as trained succession of short intervals (a fourth plus a fourth, or a fifth plus a third within the unusual span of a seventh, as on the words, "non morir" in Sospirava il mio core and the beginning of Se la mia morte). We also see an abundance of chromaticisms that emerge at the slightest suggestion in the poetic metaphor, and which are no longer used to add a touch of variety to the harmonic colour, but overflow in a continuous stream, modifying the melodic character and the harmonic balance, and adding an even greater degree of harshness to an already pronounced predilection for dissonances. In Merce grido piangendo, among others, the chromatic activity infuses the entire composition with a sensuality to the point of creating the impression of being confronted with the negative of a form of the madrigal, exactly the reverse of the model of the madrigal based on a contemplative vision of Petrarchan verse that had dominated the entire 16th century. By divesting himself of this tradition, Gesualdo gave free rein to the proud individual gesture in which the gratification of the subjective impulse shattered the customary narrative order.

The metaphors employed in the traditional madrigal as illustrations of external situations are transformed by Gesualdo into lyrical nuclei in which the manner of representing sensations leads to a more immediate communication of emotion. This is, however, founded on the rhetorical system of the oldest precepts of Affektenlehre. We find it borne out by the exclamations in Merce grido piangendo, and by the use of pauses and syncopated accents that perturb the natural vocal line. In Sospirava il mio cor and lo parto the interruption of the melodic flow no longer suffices to depict the act of sighing, but the pause is employed to break up the word itself ('so-spirava', 'interrot-ti omei'), thereby introducing yet another degree of imitative intensity. The Prince of Venosa is here on the very threshold of an expressive mode that already belongs to that of the melodramma, of the impetuosity manifested in the first person aria. However, he does not engage his talent in accompanied monody, a form he certainly practised but did not consider worthy of passing on to posterity, no more than he was interested in the aims of the musical theatre: the resources of polyphony were amply sufficient for his purposes. Moreover, as Nino Pirrotta has pointed out, his polyphonic writing opened itself to new suggestions, acting 'as a counterpoint to the recitatives, since its substance is no longer derived from the play of images in motion, but from the multiplication of the emotional intensity of the declamation'. We can add that it is precisely the presence of this incompletely realized expressive drive that introduces a supplementary element of tension into an aesthetic perspective that is ambivalent on all its levels.

In reality, an evolution in the direction of a dramatic action would not be possible in this music that negates all action, that is, most of the time, crystallized in images of stupor and ecstasy bordering on hallucination. A single idea dominates the entire body of the Gesualdian madrigal: the idea of a love consumed by desire to the point of stupefaction. Nothing is exempt from this obsession, not even Ardita zanzaretta, the only madrigal that condescends to frivolous and sparkling poetic conceits, in which the exhilarating kinetic energy that enlivens astonishing demonstration of contrapuntal mastery dissolves in the last bars in a flood of chromatic inflexions that bring back the mood of languid, exhausted emotion. Rather than generating movement, the dialectic of love and death, between which the Prince's tormented poetic imagination is divided, is contracted into utterances in which the two aspects, far from being opposed, are yoked together: the poetic oxymoron - 'dolce veleno' (sweet poison) in Ardita zanzaretta, or 'o dolce, o strana morte' (o sweet, o strange death) in Arde il mio cor... the examples are legion - finds in the ambiguous play on consonance and dissonance within the chromatic framework, the perfect musical equivalent of the indissolubly fused conceits, manneristically reproduced in a development that is both sombre and closed in on itself.

-Carlo Piccardi

The Madrigal, a glorious experimental laboratory

It was Italy that was to be the principal theatre of the Baroque revolution. One might ask why this upheaval took place beyond the Alps where, to be sure, there was already an old and strong musical tradition, but a priori no more "advanced" nor more vital than that which reigned in France, Flanders or Spain, for instance. At the time Italy was not a centralised state, and even less a nation, in the modern sense of the terms. The Italian Peninsula, composed of a myriad of principalities, duchies and "republics", was constantly plagued by military and political rivalries, complex problems of alliances, marriages and successions. The 15th century saw the apogee of Florence, the capital of Tuscany, and its local potentates, the famous dynasty of the Medici. In the 16th century this flourishing city lost its political domination to Venice and Genoa. None the less, its artistic leadership remained unchanged. Other great artistic centres developed in and around cities of lesser importance, such as Mantua, Ferrara and Modena. These cities were often in the hands of potentates whose attitudes towards the administration of their lands and their subjects could hardly be called enlightened, but who accorded great importance to the cultural development of their states.

Since the 14th century the Italian despots had always supported the arts: no doubt they hoped that this would excuse them in the eyes of posterity for their numerous acts of treachery and injustice. Thus the d'Este family, who governed the cities of Ferrara and Modena, patronised many artists, among them the great poet Torquato Tasso (1544-1595). With his Gerusalemme liberata (completed in 1580) this "poete maudit" produced the most celebrated heroic poem in Italian literature. This vast work, with its innumerable digressions, inspired a large number of composers, like Marenzio, and Monteverdi, who kept on returning to it throughout his long life. Similarly, in Mantua the Gonzaga family patronised the painter Mantegna, the architect Giulio Romano, the writer Baldassare Castiglione, and the composer Claudio Monteverdi.

To the artists of this period the work of art no longer had to follow the old rule of representing the ideal proportions dictated by the numerical symbolism of a superior reality hidden from us by the deceptive appearances of the world. The Renaissance rather chose to refer to Aristotle, proclaiming once again the rule that was to govern artistic creation for the nest three centuries: art should be the imitation of nature. The plastic arts were therefore to be figurative, while music was to become the ideal medium through which to express all the mysterious profundity of human nature. "To depict the passions", movere gli affetti: this was to be the new guiding light of composers (I can appease all troubled hearts... I can inflame even the most frozen minds). Thus the concept of "the beautiful in music", which throughout the Middle Ages was oriented entirely towards counterpoint and its superimposition of several different but equally important voices, but which also expounded the indivisible treatment of voices and instruments, underwent a radical change: the symbolic dimension now gave way to the human.

In the second half of the 16th century the subtle poetry of Tasso and Guarini, and the enduring fondness for Petrarch provided the impetus for a renewal of the madrigal, a genre that had first appeared in the 14th century and fallen into disuse in the 15th. The "classical" 16th century madrigal is a polyphonic composition in four or five parts in which instruments sometimes take the place of one or more of the voices. It alternates harmonic sections with the simultaneous declamation of the words by all the voices (thereby making it easier to understand the meaning of the words) and contrapuntal passages in which the voices appear in dialogue or overlap one another (the words becoming virtually unintelligible). The madrigal soon became a veritable "experimental laboratory" for the at times literally scientific quest for a "new music". In order to "fit" the expression of the words more closely, the music assumed a new function: it was considered as a veritable language, one that was articulated parallel to the spoken language and able to depict every textual subtlety by means of corresponding musical devices. These soon became stereotyped and codified, and came to be known as "figuralisms" or "madrigalisms". Thus, for instance, it became common to introduce a painful dissonance on words denoting suffering or sorrow. Similarly, words like "sun" or "earth" were contrasted by high or low pitched sounds, etc. This renewal of the Italian madrigal in the 16th century and this new passion for the musical illustration of the words gave rise to the creation of a veritable "musical rhetoric". And yet, we cannot help feeling here that the polyphonic singing of a text by several singers cannot but obstruct the intelligibility of the very words that are meant to support the whole composition. What is more, the "expression of the passions" is compromised by the sheer weight of the forces, the complexity of the musical writing and the perpetual interweaving of the parts: how can a lover's complaint be rendered credible when it takes five singers to utter it? This problematic development is even more evident in the works of Gesualdo. The tormented psychology of the famous Prince of Venosa is reflected in his music, filled with bold chromaticisms and harsh dissonances. This violently "expressionistic" music clearly reveals the limits of the polyphonic manner in the "credible" expression of individual passions (the text is in the first person singular, but it is sung by five singers). It also demonstrates the inadequacy of the contrapuntal language, because the superimposed melodies adopt strange and awkward contours which end up by creating no more than a harmonic effect.

- Denis Morrier

  Соисполнители :

Andrew Lawrence-King (Harp)
Eric Bellocq (Theorbo)
Erin Headley (Lira Вa Braccio)
Les Arts Florissants (Orchestra)

№ п/п

Наименование трека



   1 Ahi, Disperata Vita         0:01:26 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 3), W. 3/18
   2 Sospirava Il Mio Core         0:01:37 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 3), W. 3/35: Part 1
   3 O Malnati Messaggi         0:02:06 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 3)
   4 Non T'amo, o Voce Ingrata         0:03:37 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 3), W. 3/43
   5 Canzon Francese Del Principe (harpe)         0:06:01 Carlo Gesualdo - Canzon Francese For Keyboard, W. 10/16
   6 Luci Serene e Chiare         0:03:19 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 4), W. 4/13
   7 Sparge La Morte Al Mio Signor         0:04:14 Carlo Gesualdo - Sacred Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 4), W. 4/42
   8 Arde Il Mio Cor         0:02:12 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 4), W. 4/62
   9 Io Tacero, Ma Nel Silenzio Mio - Invan Dunque (harpe Et Lyrone)         0:04:20 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 4), W. 4/21
   10 Occhi Del Mio Cor Vita         0:03:23 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 5), W. 5/42
   11 Merce Grido Piangendo         0:04:13 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 5), W. 5/49
   12 Asciugate I Begli Occhi         0:03:11 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 5), W. 5/57
   13 Correte, Amanti, A Prova (harpe Et Theorbe)         0:02:56 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 5), W. 5/54
   14 Se La Mia Morte Brami         0:03:02 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 6), W. 6/13
   15 Io Parto, e Non Piu Dissi         0:02:55 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 6), W. 6/29
   16 Ardita Zanzaretta         0:03:11 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 6), W. 6/57
   17 Ardo Per Te, Mio Bene         0:03:02 Carlo Gesualdo - Madrigal For 5 Voices (Book 6), W. 6/62


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