Gesualdo: Sacrae Cantiones

Gesualdo: Sacrae Cantiones

by The Marian ConsortThe Marian Consort


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Carlo Gesualdo's five-voice motets, published in 1603 under the title Sacrae Cantiones, have suffered in recording catalogs in comparison with his tortured madrigals and exquisitely gloomy "Tenebrae responsories." This is a shame, for revealed here are serious sacred compositions that make use of many madrigalian devices, but are not simply madrigals with sacred texts. They come out especially madrigalian in this one-voice-per-part recording by the young Marian Consort: not always an ideal solution, but easy enough to imagine for Gesualdo, writing in splendid isolation in his castle after the violent events of his life, with a small troupe of virtuoso musicians on the payroll. Gesualdo uses his chromatic and extreme madrigal language as just one possibility among several; typically chromaticism will illustrate a moment of suffering, but then the polyphony will retreat to the block proto-chords of the later 16th century's motet composers or even to smooth Palestrina-like polyphony, as the text demands. The result is an exceptionally sensitive handling of text, serious but never overwrought. Sample a piece like "Hei mihi, Domine" for the overall effect. A recommended way into some little-known late Renaissance masterworks.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/26/2016
Label: Daphne Records
UPC: 0801918341762
catalogNumber: 34176
Rank: 132433


  1. Sancti spiritus, Domine, corda nostra, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/26
  2. Dignare me, laudare te, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/24
  3. Reminiscere miserationum tuarum, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/21
  4. Ave, dulcissima Maria, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/17
  5. Venit lumen tuum, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/14
  6. Ave Regina caelorum, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/11
  7. Maria, Mater gratiae, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/63
  8. Illumina faciem tuam, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/60
  9. Tribulationem et dolorem inveni, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/57
  10. Deus refugium, offertory motet for 5 voices, W. 8/54
  11. Tribularer si nescirem, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/51
  12. O crux benedicta, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/48
  13. Precibus et meritis beatae Mariae, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/45
  14. Exaudi Deus, deprecationem meam, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/42
  15. O vos omnes, responsory for 5 voices, W. 8/40
  16. Peccantem me quotidie, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/36
  17. Laboravi in gemitu meo, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/33
  18. Hei mihi, Domine, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/30
  19. Domine, ne despicias, motet for 5 voices, W. 8/28

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