Gesualdo: Quinto Libro di Madrigali (1611)
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life and death for five voices
This album takes a different approach than the Hilliard Ensemble's Gesualdo album ("Tenebrae"). In addition to bass, baritone, tenor, and countertenor (all men), La Venexiana includes two sopranos. The result is a sound that is neither better or worse, just different, and I'm glad I own both albums. The material is different, too; Gesualdo's madrigals are much more varied in mood than the church music of "Tenebrae." A few of them even sound --- dare I say it? --- lighthearted! Cavina and La Venexiana do a fine job here. Their purity of tone, their ability to navigate the frequently complex harmonies and tempo changes, makes this a genuinely delightful album to listen to. Gesualdo's music has been described as "death for five voices." That's not *always* the case here, and all 20 tracks of this lovely, lively album are a treat. Buy it; you'l be listening to it again and again.