Magazine article Gramophone

'Gesualdo': Dean Carlo

Magazine article Gramophone

'Gesualdo': Dean Carlo

Article excerpt


Dean Carlo (a) Gesualdo Moro lasso. O crux benedicta Tuur L'ombra della croce. Psalmody (a) Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Tallinn Chamber Orchestra / Tbnu Kaljuste

ECM New Series (F) 4811800 (58' * DDD)

If you're casting around for musical inspiration, you could do a lot worse than Carlo Gesualdo. A 16th-century prince and a composer, he is best remembered as a double-murderer--infamously stabbing his wife and her lover after discovering them in flagrante. It was the grief and penitence which followed that fuelled the composer's extraordinarily chromatic vocal writing--convulsions of disjunct melody and harmonic lurches that find no equal for several centuries.

Thoughtfully programmed, in characteristic ECM style, this disc from Tonu Kaljuste, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir takes Gesualdo's motets and madrigals as a starting point, pairing Kaljuste's own arrangements of 'Moro lasso' and 'O crux benedicta' for string orchestra with Brett Dean's Carlo (1997)--a tone-poem for chamber orchestra, reimagining both Gesualdo's music and the 'fateful night' of the murders--and two works by Erkki-Sven Tuur.

Both Kaljuste's orchestra and his instinct are good ones; the insistent suspensions of Gesualdo's vocal writing--not so much sliding as grinding over one another--translate beautifully for strings, muted and thickly scored in close imitation of a viol consort. …

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