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Gesualdo - Madrigali - Libro III

The Kassopeia Quintet

Globe GLO5223 (UK distributor CODA)

This introduction to The Kassopeia Quintet has given us the keenest pleasure. Founded when they were international students based at The Hague, their blend of young voices and punctilious intonation places them at a high level in a quite competitive field.

Gesualdo is particularly appreciated by generalists, probably because, as they tell us, he was the sole composer to pursue expressive dissonance to such an extent. This book of twenty madrigals covers the usual gamut of delight in love and beauty, and the pains of loss and rejection, couched in extravagant poetic terms.

It is all recorded ideally, and (to use a hackneyed phrase) we do indeed await eagerly the other volumes of what is to be a complete series, most of all to Books 5 & 6, in which Gesualdo "pushed chromaticism and dissonance to their limits".

From The Kassopeia Quintet's website, we learn that Book 4 is to be launched next month.

Most warmly recommended, and not just for specialists.

Peter Grahame Woolf



Madrigali - Libro IV

The Kassopeia Quintet

Globe GLO5223 (UK distributor CODA)

This recording is equally excellent and desirable. Tido Visser tells us that each book has its specific character with the composer's development becoming clearer if they are tackled consecutively. The Kassopeia Quintet did so first in 2006.

Book IV "ends one period and begins another", so you will have to buy these two and wait for the next to be released before all comes clear...

With full texts and English translations, the Kassopeias are ideal guides.

I Luci serene e chiare
II Tal'hor sano desio
III Io tacerò (prima parte)
IV In van dunque, o crudele (seconda parte)
V Che fai meco mio cor
VI Questa crudele e pia
VII Or che in gioia (prima parte)
VIII O sempre crudo Amore (seconda parte)
IX Cor mio, deh, non piangete (prima parte)
X Dunque non m'offendete (seconda parte)
XI Sparge la morte
XII Moro, e mentre sospiro (prima parte)
XIII Quando di lui la sospirata vita (seconda parte)
XIV Mentre gira costei
XV A voi, mentre il mio core
XVI Ecco, morirò dunque (prima parte)
XVII Ahi, già mi discoloro (seconda parte)
XVIII Arde il mio cor
XIX Se chiudete nel core
XX Il sol, qual or più splende (prima parte)
XXI Volgi, mia luce (seconda parte)