‘The sheer inquisitive delight that these singers bring to Gesualdo’s extraordinary world indicates a very exciting series ahead’
Gramophone Magazine (on the recording of the Gesualdo Madrigals, winner of the "Early Music" Gramophone Award 2020) > Read the complete review
« Superbly attentive to one another, well matched in clear tone without vibrato, the singers wove a contrapuntal fabric that blended into rich, organ-like sonority at some moments and splintered into six-way conversation at others. »
David Wright, New York Classical Review
The Responsories might be considered the final testament of this strange, violent, vengeful and yet pious figure. They are collections of nine sacred madrigals, a set for each of the last days of Holy Week. In this programme we will sing the settings for Maunday Thursday, the evening of the last supper, and of Christ’s prayers in the garden of Gethsemene before being betrayed by Judas, and sent to be tortured and sentenced at the hands of Pilate. It has been a tradition to perform these works in a choral setting but on examining the writing it is clear that they are much closer to the madrigals that Gesualdo published in the same year (Books 5 and 6) than to anything choral of the period.
These works are destined for his own small ensemble of specialist singers with whom he often sang himself and the highly charged texts are set to music of vivid colour and profound beauty. The very name ‘reponsory’ implies a response to a previous text and in this evening’s performance we will commence by the plainchant setting to which the polyphonic works of Gesualdo respond. In so doing we hear each of Gesualdo’s works as individual meditations, separate from each other and to be valued as individual works.
Matera / Italy
- Monday, October 4 2021, 8pm