1. INSETTI GALANTI (7:00)
First performance: February 1990 Paris
Groupe Vocale de France
Conductor: Peter Eötvös
“Gallant insects” was written in 1970/89 to selected texts from Gesualdo’s Sixth Book of Madrigals. On a sultry summer night, mosquitoes and moths swarm out and sing of ardent love, in an extravagant and mannered fashion, until they are consumed in the flames of their own love.
2. The HOCHZEISTMADRIGAL (4:30)
First performance: November 1976 Metz Festival
Collegium Vocale Köln
”Wedding Madrigal”, composed in 1965/76, is a song to the boundless joy of living (text: ”Al mio gioir”). It shows four stages in the wedding ceremony: guests and relatives posing for photographs at the church-door – marching in and peal of bells, with poses – preparation of the bridal bed by candlelight, with poses – private dialogue between the newly-weds (text: mediaeval German love-song ”Thou art mine, I am thine…”) beneath the spying eyes of the relatives, who peep through the keyhole, with poses.
3. MORO LASSO (8:00)
First performance: April 1963, Budapest
Moro lasso was composed in 1963/72 for the 350th anniversary of Gesualdo’s death. Here, the piece – perhaps the best known of all Gesualdo’s madrigals – is shown in a rear perspective, as if it were being performed for a spectator watching in the wings: to the chimes of bells, the actors, coughing, growling, clearing their throats, slowly drop their masks of living people and let their true dead faces come to the fore.