Sunday, October 16, 2016

Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa - Se la mia Morte Brami

One of the most innovative composers of the seventeenth century is also one of the notorious.  Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza was a Renaissance Man.  Given a religious education as a child (as a younger brother he was not going to inherit the family lands and titles), but his brother's death brought him back to Naples.  Falling hopelessly in love with his cousin Donna Maria d'Avalos, he married her.  All seemed to be perfect in the young Prince's life.

But it wasn't.  Donna Maria strayed, carrying on a two year love affair with Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria.  It seems that everyone knew about this except for Carlo - although you have to wonder if he wouldn't let himself know.  But everything comes to light in the end.

And so it was on this date in 1590.  Suspecting his wife, he made a show of going on a hunting trip.  Coming back suddenly and unexpectedly, he discovered the two lovers in flagrante.  He stabbed both of them to death and unceremoniously dumped their bodies in the public square.  He was brought to trial but charges were dismissed.  It was a different time.

His musical compositions were marked with a unique tonal quality, along with an almost painful emotionalism in the lyrics of his madrigals.  It's not clear whether he is more famous for this experimental musical style or for his infamous past.  It may be the combination of the two that attracts interest.


Old NFO said...

Definitely a 'different' tone than one normally associates with a madrigal!

libertyman said...

Geez, where do you find these guys? As always, it spurs me to do more research on the composer.

Well done and many thanks.