Album: The Hilliard Ensemble, Carlo Gesualdo: Quinto Libro di Madrigali (ECM New Series)


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The quartet turn to the fifth book of Gesualdo's madrigals, an orgy of ecstatic grief and weeping wrought in angelic interlaced harmonies, as in "S'io non miro non moro": "I die if I do not look, but live not when I look – thus I am dead, but not bereft of life."

The elegant rhetoric betrays Gesualdo's aristocratic background, and its internal contradiction neatly reflects the baffling ingenuity of his work, whose dissonances were literally centuries ahead of his time, their bold gambits regarded with suspicion by his 16th-century peers, and even now testing the imagination and ingenuity of even as accomplished a team as the Hilliard quartet.

DOWNLOAD THIS S'io non miro non moro; O dolorosa gioia; Languisce al fin; O tenebroso giorno