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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gesualdo, Sacrae Cantiones Liber secundus, Vocalconsort Berlin,

2013 marks the 400th anniversary of Gesualdo's death. To commemorate the anniversary we can expect a number of new recordings and performances throughout the world. Certainly the most notable to date is the Vocalconsort Berlin's recorded edition of the Sacrae Cantiones Liber secundus (Harmonia Mundi 902123). These ravishing motets in six or seven parts have for many centuries been missing the bassus and sextus parts.

James Wood spent three years reconstructing the parts so we can at last hear the full sonance of the Second Book for the first time. The Vocalconsort Berlin obliges with a sparkling performance that all who love Gesualdo will certainly take to heart. Those looking for dissonances galore will not find that as much in this series of works, but they will find the characteristic chromatic forays at peak emotional moments and the general harmonic-melodic way with counterpoint that made Gesualdo the daringly original master he was and give the attentive listener a treasure trove of vocal beauty.

James Wood and Vocalconsort Berlin offer up to us a full 70 minutes of virtually new Gesualdo in excellent sound. This is a treat, and a milestone!

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