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Posted February 7, 2011
Delitiæ Musicæ are on contract with Naxos to record the complete madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo. This disc includes the Second Book of Madrigals, which was published in 1594, the same year as the First Book of Madrigals. But the last two tracks are a bonus: the only two known instrumental works by this Italian master. The instrumentation for these works is not known, but director Marco Longhini has made educated choices for the performances of these rare treasures.
The recording is clear, and the singers can be heard in different areas of your speakers, creating a spatial effect that is suitable for Gesualdo's bizarre composing style. All of the singers are male, ranging from bass to countertenor. Timing on the syllables is perfect, and the vocalists don't overenunciate. A compelling mini-essay in the booklet begins to tell the story of the murder of Gesualdo's unfaithful wife, Maria d'Avalos and her lover, with a promise to go further into the story in the booklet for Madrigals Book 3. A wonderful set so far!