Album review: Nigel Short, Tenebrae Gesualdo, Victoria: Responsories and Lamentations for Holy Saturday (Deutsche Grammophon)


Like Marlowe and Caravaggio, Carlo Gesualdo is an artist whose work is given an unnecessary added frisson by the murkier circumstances of his private life – in the case of this 16th-century Italian nobleman, the double murder of his adulterous wife and her lover, the Duke of Andria.

It's difficult to square this savage melodrama with the sublime poise and gentle character of Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsoria. The cycle of nine “Responsories” is here programmed alongside his contemporary Tomás Luis de Victoria's equivalent Lamentations for Holy Saturday, all performed with typical grace and poise by Nigel Short's Tenebrae.

Download: Responsorium I, V, VI, VIII; Lectio III