1.In I. Nocturno: Antiphon: Astiterunt Reges Terrae / Psalm: Quare Fremuerunt Gentes / Antiphon...
2.In I. Nocturno: Lectio I: De Lamentatione...Heth
3.In I. Nocturno: Resp. I: Omnes Amici Mei
4.In I. Nocturno: Lectio Ii: Lamed
5.In I. Nocturno: Resp. Ii: Velum Templi
6.In I. Nocturno: Lectio Iii: Aleph
7.In I. Nocturno: Resp. Iii:L Vinea Mea Electa
8.In Ii. Nocturno: Antiphon: Aleni Insurrexerunt / Psalm: Deus In Nomine Tuo (Ps 53) / Antiphon...
9.In Ii. Nocturno: Lectio Iv: Ex Tractatu..l. Protexisti Me
10.In Ii. Nocturno: Resp. Iv: Tamquam Ad Latronem
11.In Ii. Nocturno: Lectio V: Tanta Opera Bona
12.In Ii. Nocturno: Resp. V: Tenebrae Factae Sunt
13.In Ii. Nocturno: Lectio Vi: Exacuerunt Tamquam
14.In Ii. Nocturno: Resp. Vi: Animam Meam Dilectam
15.In Iii. Nocturno: Antiphon: Captabunt In Animan Justi / Psalm: Deus Ultionum Dominus (Ps 93)...
16.In Iii. Nocturno: Lectio Vii: De Epistola... Festinemus
17.In Iii. Nocturno: Resp. Vii: Tradiderunt Me
18.In Iii. Nocturno: Lectio Viii: Adeamus Ergo
19.In Iii. Nocturno: Resp. Viii: Jesum Tradidit Impius
20.In Iii. Nocturno: Lectio Ix: Nec Quisquam
21.In Iii. Nocturno: Resp. Ix: Caligaverunt Oculi Mei
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
The Neapolitan nobleman Don Carlo Gesualdo achieved modern-day fame decades before other Renaissance composers; the combination of a lurid life story and sensationally strange music proved irresistible to the likes of Nadia Boulanger and Igor Stravinsky. Gesualdo's madrigals, crammed full of sudden, disorienting changes in harmony (and dissonance), can seem to induce vertigo all by themselves, and much of his liturgical music is only marginally more stable. The Taverner Consort and Choir perform here several of Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories from the liturgy for Good Friday. Andrew Parrott's practice of performing sacred music in the context of at least a partial service works especially well here. After 70 uninterrupted minutes of Gesualdo's high-flying weirdness, a listener's sense of dislocation can wear off; hearing chant and even intoned readings between Gesualdo's music (as Gesualdo would have done in his own chapel) helps keep the ears oriented. Each time the Consort sings one of Gesualdo's pieces after some chant, you're reminded anew just how willfully bizarre that music is. The performance itself is problematic. The Taverners are certainly more engaged than the Hilliard Ensemble, but not engaged enough. Granted, these aren't madrigals, but the writing isn't that different. God knows there's breathless anguish in the music. We need to hear a bit more of it from the singers. Nevertheless, accurate execution and tuning in Gesualdo are an achievement in themselves; so is the way this program is organized. Flaws notwithstanding, Andrew Parrott and his singers show Gesualdo's sacred music to better advantage than has anyone else so far. --Matthew Westphal