MADRIGAL EXTREMISM – luca marenzio and carlo gesualdo

Besætning: 8 singers and Bo Holten Price: Duration: 70-100 minutes

The century of the madrigal (1520-1620) started off with very simple bawdy and homophonic songs, but developed into the most intricate polyphonic and refined chamber music there ever was. After 1580 an explosion of music for professional chamber music vocalists occurred, epitomized in the genre’s two most extreme composers: Luca Marenzio and Carlo Gesualdo. Marenzio came to be the greatest and most popular composition virtuoso in all styles, a veritable Richard Strauss of the madrigal: no emotion, no splendor and no lament were beyond his capabilities of expression, and all by using merely six solo singers! Gesualdo, on the other hand, became the Gustav Mahler of the late Renaissance: He managed to express all the horrors of life, the deepest depressions and the wildest erotic bliss and delirious joy with just five virtuosic solo singers. The contrast between these mighty madrigalists could not have been greater, but they match each other as two pinnacles of the age, showing how different madrigals can actually be.