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Carlo Gesualdo
1566 - 1613
Italy
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C. Gesualdo
Carlo Gesualdo [known as Gesualdo da Venosa] (08/03/1566 - 08/09/1613), Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian music composer, lutenist and nobleman of the late Renaissance. He is famous for his intensely expressive madrigals, which use a chromatic language not heard again until the 19th century, and also for committing what are amongst the most notorious murders in musical history. Gesualdo was part of an aristocratic family which had acquired the principality of Venosa in 1560. His uncle was Carlo Borromeo, later Saint Charles Borromeo. In addition, Gesualdo's mother, Girolama, was the niece of Pope Pius IV. Most likely he was born at Venosa, then part of the Kingdom of Naples, but little else is known about his early life. Even his birthdate — 1560, 1561 or 1566 — is a matter of some dispute, though a recently discovered letter from his mother indicates he was probably born in 1566. Gesualdo had a musical relationship with Pomponio Nenna, though whether it was student to teacher, or colleague to colleague, is uncertain. At any rate, he had a single-minded devotion to music from an early age, and showed little interest in anything else. In addition to the lute, he also played the harpsichord and guitar. In addition to Nenna, Gesualdo's accademia included the composers Giovanni de Macque, Scipione Dentice, Scipione Stella, Scipione Lacorcia, Ascanio Mayone, and the nobleman lutenist Ettorre de la Marra.
Hei mihi domine
Period:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1603c
Musical form:Motet a 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Responsorium ad Matutinum de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:3'42''
Label(s):Stradivarius STR 33842
Naxos 8.550742
The Hei/heu mihi, Domine is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum, the Office of the Dead. This Responsory from Matins of the Dead is set by Carlo Gesulado for five voices (CATTB). The Responsorium Heu/Hei mihi, Domine is still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1791/92 and is sung after Lectio V in the second nocturne/secundo nocturno. The Hei mihi, Domine is written by Carlo Gesualdo in a fluent modest polyphonic counterpoint, using flats and sharps, fine dissonant and chosen mode a-minor to express his feelings and to underline the wording of this Respond. Contrary to that the question “Quid faciam miser”? is set twice in a homophonic way, see bars 18 up to 23. The total motet consists out of 56 bars. In this case Gesualdo didn’t use the belonging Verse “ Anima mea turbata est valde sed tu Domine succurre ei: miserere mei dum veneris in novissimo die”. For good understanding we have placed the not used text compared to the Liber Usualis between brackets, see below.
In this motet Carlo Gesulado uses imitative polyphonic style starting with Altus followed by Tenor, Bassus and Quintus together and some later Cantus. In bar 24, 25 and 26 Gesualdo underlines the wording “fugiam” in using in each part ascending eights notes.
This Repond Hei mihi Domine is a piece set with fine dissonant chords. The Respond Hei mihi, Domini has been published in: Sacrarum cantionum liber primus, 1603, motecta 5 vocum, Constantino Vitali et Giovanni Pietro Cappuccio Napoli and in 1934 Instituzioni e Monumenti dell’Arte Musicale Italiana , Libro V, Guido Pannain, Ricordi, Milano. This Repond is number VII out of the 1603 edition published together with among others Laboravi in gemitu meo and Peccantem me quotidie.
Author:Wim Goossens
R. Hei mihi domine (responsory ad Officium Defunctorum). The text of this motet:

Heu mihi Domine quia peccavi nimis, in vita mea:
quid faciam miser?
ubi fugiam nisi ad te Deus meus?
Miserere mei dum veneris in novissimo die.
[V. Anima mea turbata est valde sed tu Domine succurre ei:
R. miserere mei dum veneris in novissimo die.]

Translation:
R. Woe is me, Lord, for I have sinned greatly.
What shall become of me, wretch that I am;
where shall I flee, except to Thee, O Lord.
Have mercy on me when Thou shalt come on the last day.
[V. My soul is greatly troubled but Thou, O Lord, sustainest me:
R. have mercy on me when Thou shalt come on the last day.]
Source:booklet of cd Stradivarius STR 33842
Peccantem me quotidie
Period:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1603c
Musical form:Motet a 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin Responsorium ad Matutinum de Officium Defunctorum
Duration:5'23''
Label(s):Stradivarius STR 33842
Naxos 8.550742
Peccantem me quotidie is a plainchant from the Responsorium de Officium Defunctorum Ad Matutinum. This Responsory from the Office of the Dead composed by Carlo Gesualdo in a motet for five voices (CATTB). The Peccantem me quotidie is an old Responsorium a Respond which is still published in the old Liber Usualis page 1797 and is sung after Lectio VII in the third Nocturn.
The Peccantem me quotidie is written by Carlo Gesualdo in a fluent modest polyphonic counterpoint, using flats and sharps, fine dissonant and the chosen mode d-minor to express his feelings and to underline the wording of this Respond. All parts start with a descending minor 6th, starting with Cantus, Altus, Tenor, Bassus and Quintus. The total motet consists out of 75 bars and ends in a hopeful salva me in A.
Gesualdo didn’t use the belonging Versicle “Deus in nomine tuo, salvum me fac. Domine et in virtute tua judica me. quia in inferno nulla est redemption. Miserere mei, deus, et salva me”, which we have placed between brackets see the text below. The Respond Peccantem me quotidie has been published in: Sacrarum cantionum liber primus, 1603, motecta 5 vocum, Constantino Vitali et Giovanni Pietro Cappuccio Napoli and in 1934 Instituzioni e Monumenti dell’Arte Musicale Italiana, Libro V, Guido Pannain, Ricordi, Milano. This Repond is number XIII out of the 1603 edition published together with among others Laboravi in gemitu meo and Hei mihi Domine.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text:
R. Peccantem me quotidie et non me penitentem, timor mortis conturbat me, quia in inferno nulla est redemptio. Miserere mei, Deus, et salva me.
[V.Deus in nomine tuo, salvum me fac. Domine et in virtute tua judica me. quia in inferno nulla est redemption. Miserere mei, deus, et salva me.]

Translation:
R. The fear of death overwhelms me, who sin every day and not repent: for in hell there is no redemption. Have mercy on me O God and spare me.
[V. Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength.: for in hell there is no redemption. Have mercy on me O God and spare me.]
Source:booklet of cd Stradivarius STR 33842
Laboravi in gemitu meo
Period:Late Renaissance
Composed in:1603c
Musical form:Motet à 5 vocibus
Text/libretto:Latin from Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum
Duration:4'18''
Label(s):Naxos 8.550742
The Laboravi in gemitu meo is a plainchant from the Officium Defunctorum ad Matutinum.
This motet-setting is composed for six voices (CATTB) by Carlo Gesualdo.
Gesualdo uses part – only the sixth versicle - of the text of psalm 6 which is still published in the Liber Usualis page 1783 Office of the Dead at Matins, the first nocturn.
The Laboravi in gemitu meo is written by Carlo Gesualdo in a fluent modest polyphonic counterpoint, using well placed flats and sharps, fine dissonant and the chosen mode d-minor to express his feelings and to underline the wording of this Respond. The Tenor starts this motet followed by Bassus, Altus , Cantus and Quintus. Contrary to that the wording “Lacrimis, lacrimis, lacrimis meis” is set in a homophonic way, see bars 38 up to 41. Gesualdo in a sad mood here with word-painting, from c sharp-minor to a-minor. The total motet consists out of 60 bars.
See too the setting on the same text by Philippe Rogier (1561-1596) mentioned in this website and set by Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623).
This setting of Laboravi in gemitu meo by Carlo Gesualdo has been published in: Sacrarum cantionum liber primus, 1603, motecta 5 vocum, Constantino Vitali et Giovanni Pietro Cappuccio Napoli and in 1934 Instituzioni e Monumenti dell’Arte Musicale Italiana, Libro V, Guido Pannain, Ricordi, Milano.
This motet is number IX out of the 1603 edition published together with among others Peccantem me quotidie and Hei mihi Domine.
Author:Wim Goossens
Text:
Laboravi in gemitu meo,
Lavabo per singulas noctes lectum meum.
Lacrimis meis stratum meum rigabo.

Translation:
I am wearied with sighing;
Every night I flood my bed with weeping;
I drench my couch with my tears.
Contributor:Wim Goossens