1610s in Music

1. Carlo Gesualdo: “Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday” (9/10)

These are excerted from a larger Responsoria et alia ad Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae spectantiaponsoria covering Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. (I did not know the name of the day between Good Friday and Easter before.) There are 9 pieces for Maundy Thursday but the disc I listened to has 14, including a piece from the 4th part (“et alia”) and some other pieces I cannot quite place. If I had the notes I might be able to tell you but its been 7 years since I first listened to this.

So here’s what I wrote 7 years ago:

And I can confirm this with what little knowledge I have of both music theory and Renaissance music. To my ears, some of this stuff sounds like it could easily be early 20th century vocal music, written in tribute of the Renaissance, but aware of the romantic tradition and the crisis of tonality.

And that’s what’s so hard to get my head around: this sounds both really old and, at times, crazy progressive, and yet he was totally forgotten. It’s fascinating.

I’m not sure he’s the greatest Renaissance composer you’ll ever stumble across, but he sure was one of the nuttiest. I am going to keep looking into his work, as it’s really unique. Both of these recordings are worthwhile and both show off his idiosyncrasies and forward thinking.

2. Giovanni Gabrieli: Symphoniae Sacrae (8?/10)

I didn’t write separate reviews for the pieces in the collection I heard. Read the review of the collection.

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