La Dolce Maniera presents with Dolcissimo Veleno a CD dedicated to Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1566-1613), an emblematic figure of the end of the Renaissance. Prince of the highest order, passionate about hunting and music, sadly famous for having brutally murdered his wife and her lover, Gesualdo is also considered as one of the most revolutionary composers of musical history.
If the music of Monteverdi, his contemporary, is mostly theater, Gesualdo does not represent the tragedy of human existence but on the contrary, he experiences it, painting it with incredible violence, both on a personal level (the experience of love and death) and on a metaphysical one. The oxymorons constantly present in his music (“gloomy day”, “sad joy”…) are not in fact simple accidents, but consecutive contradictions of human existence: there is no dolcezza (sweetness, tenderness, pleasure…) without veleno (venom, poison), as shadows would not exist without the light. And it’s precisely in accepting this inevitably contradictory dimension of the human condition that one finds the tragic expressed so well by the work of Gesualdo.
Gesualdo published six books of madrigals between 1594 and 1611. La Dolce Maniera, to provide a complete view of the ensemble of his profane works, has put at least one madrigal from each book into its program composed of 20 madrigals which make up a romantic song cycle.
Ellen Giacone, soprano
Silvana Torto, mezzosoprano