Gesualdo: Il Quarto Libro di Madrigali

Gesualdo: Il Quarto Libro di Madrigali, 1596
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920907
Glossa 920934


  1. Luci serene e chiare (5 voices)
  2. Tal'hor sano desio (5 voices)
  3. Io tacerò ma nel silentio (5 voices)
    In van dunque o crudele (seconda parte)
  4. Che fai meco mio cor (5 voices)
  5. Sento che nel partire (voice, 2 lutes)
  6. Questa crudele e pia (5 voices)
  7. Or che in gioia (5 voices)
    O sempre crudo Amore (seconda parte)
  8. Cor mio deh non piangete (5 voices)
    Dunque non m'offendete (seconda parte)
  9. Canzon francese del Principe (harpsichord)
  10. Sparge la morte al mio (5 voices)
  11. Moro, e mentre sospiro (5 voices)
    Quando di lui la sospirata vita (seconda parte)
  12. Mentre gira costei (5 voices)
  13. A voi, mentre il mio core (5 voices)
  14. Ecco, morirò dunque (5 voices)
    Ahi, già mi discoloro (seconda parte)
  15. Se taccio il duol s'avanza (voice, 2 lutes)
  16. Arde il mio cor (5 voices)
  17. Se chiudete nel core (5 voices)
  18. Il sol qual or più splende (5 voices)
    Volgi, mia luce (seconda parte)
  19. Mercè grido piangendo (5 voices)

Performers: Rossana Bertini (soprano), Emanuela Galli (soprano), Lucia Sciannimanico (mezzosoprano), Claudio Cavina (countertenor), Giuseppe Maletto (tenor), Sandro Naglia (tenor), Daniele Carnovich (bass), Franco Pavan (lute), Gabriele Palomba (lute), Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord)

Playing time: 68'

Recording date: March 2000 (Roletto)

Tracks Nos. 5 (second book), 9 (originally from Glossa 921501), 15 (second book), and 19 (fifth book) do not belong to Gesualdo's fourth book of madrigals and are labeled as "bonus" tracks.

The present book does not include the same level of daring as Gesualdo ultimately undertook in his fifth & sixth books, but is nonetheless a critical step in this evolution.

Although the musical quality of Gesualdo's output is an issue which seems to undergo periodic shifts in fashion, it has certainly remained the subject of some interest for its unusual progressions. More recent scholarship does stress the stylistic connections Gesualdo's madrigals have with those of his contemporaries, and indeed Gesualdo's music can be seen as old-fashioned for its continued contrapuntal (rather than chordal) emphasis and for its reluctance to embrace continuo.

In any case, Gesualdo's music has received a great deal of attention.

The next recording by the present ensemble:

Gesualdo: Il Quinto Libro di Madrigali, 1611
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920935

Other significant recordings devoted to Gesualdo:

Gesualdo / Maione: Tribulationem
Mottetti, Madrigali e Capricci
Concerto Soave - Jean-Marc Aymes
Zig-Zag Territoires 319 [CDx2]
Gesualdo: O dolorosa gioia
Madrigali dai Libro Quinto e Sesto
Concerto Italiano - Rinaldo Alessandrini
Opus 111 30-238
Gesualdo: Libro Sesto delli Madrigali (1613)
I Febi Armonici - Alan Curtis
Symphonia 94133
Gesualdo: Quinto Libro dei Madrigali (1611)
Consort of Musicke - Anthony Rooley
L'Oiseau Lyre 410 128
Gesualdo: Madrigals, books 3-6
Les Arts Florissants - William Christie
Harmonia Mundi 901268
Gesualdo: Libro IV de' madrigali a cinque voci (1596)
Ensemble Arte-Musica - Francesco Cera
Tactus 560701
Gesualdo: Madrigeaux - Livre V
Métamorphoses - Maurice Bourbon
Arion 68388
Gesualdo: Madrigals and Motets from Renaissance Naples
Gesualdo Consort - Gerald Place
AS&V "Quicksilva" 6210
Gesualdo: Madrigali, Libri 1-3
Gesualdo Consort - Harry Van Der Kamp
CPO 777 138 (2 CDs)
Gesualdo: I Tormenti d'Amore
Claritas - James Grossmith
Etcetera 1215
Gesualdo: Madrigali, Libro I
Sergio Vartolo et al.
Brilliant Classics 92635

The start of a couple of complete series:

Gesualdo: Madrigali, Libro I
Kassiopeia Quintet
Globe 5221
Gesualdo: Madrigals, Book 1
Delitæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Naxos 8.570548

One of Gesualdo's stated influences was the music of Luzzasco Luzzaschi (c.1545-1607) of Ferrara. A recording:

Luzzaschi: Quinto Libro de' Madrigali, 1595
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920905

Other recordings by the present ensemble:

Il Madrigale Italiano - Compilation
Sigismondo / Monteverdi / Luzzaschi / Marenzio
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920007
De Vitae Fugacitate
La Venexiana
Glossa 920901
Steffani: Duetti da Camera
La Venexiana
Glossa 920902
D'India: Third Book of Madrigals
La Venexiana
Glossa 920903
Monteverdi: Seventh Book of Madrigals
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920904 (2 CDs)
Marenzio: Il Nono Libro de Madrigali, 1599
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920906
Monteverdi: Third Book of Madrigals
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920910
La Gerusalemme Liberata
Wert: Madrigals from the 7th, 8th & 11th Books
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920911
La Venexiana Live!
Monteverdi: Madrigals
La Venexiana
Glossa "Platinum" 30912
Monteverdi: Selva Morale e Spirituale
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920914
Monteverdi: Scherzi Musicali
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920915
Monteverdi: Poppea
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920916 (3 CDs)
'Round M
Monteverdi meets Jazz
Roberta Mameli / La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa "Platinum" 30917
Luzzaschi: Concerto delle dame
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920919
Monteverdi: Primo Libro dei Madrigali / Nono Libro dei Madrigali
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920921
Monteverdi Edition Volume 2
Monteverdi: Secondo Libro dei Madrivali
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920922
Monteverdi Edition Volume 4
Monteverdi: Quarto Libro dei Madrigali
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920924
Monteverdi: Quinto libro dei madrigali, 1605
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920925
Monteverdi: Sesto Libro dei Madrigali, 1614
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920926
Monteverdi: Ottavo Libro dei Madrigali, 1638
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920928 (3 CDs)
Monteverdi: L'Orfeo, Favola in musica
La Venexiana - Claudio Cavina
Glossa 920913
Marcello: La Stravaganza
La Venexiana
Opus 111 30-149
Gasparini: Amori e Ombre
La Venexiana
Opus 111 30-182
Strozzi: Primo Libro de' Madrigali (1644)
La Venexiana
Cantus 9612

Finally, Gesualdo's music has been appearing on record for decades now, often in contexts associated with modern music, and so the discography here is in no way complete. While not wanting to underestimate any inherent artistic merit they might have, most of those early recordings seem to exhibit a less than thorough knowledge of the musical context in which Gesualdo wrote, concentrating instead on the aspects which do not fit with 18th century tonality.

One older recording coming out of Stravinsky's circle:

Gesualdo - Prince of Madrigalists
Marilyn Horne et al. - Robert Craft
Sony 60313

A famous & classic series in this sense:

Gesualdo: The Six Books of Madrigals for 5 voices
Quintetto Vocale Italiano - Angelo Ephrikian
Rivo Alto 8912 (6 CDs)

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Todd M. McComb