Category:  Chamber Music

Renaissance composer GESUALDO has a weird and unique biography which is directly related to his outstanding (and from today’s view) avantgardistic style of composing. Gesualdo was the model for this emotionally stirring string quintet. With it’s two Violoncelli there is a certainly intended proximity tot he famous string quintet in C major of Franz Schubert...both together could wonderfully form a chamber music program.

Movements: 1: PROLOGO ...armonie mortali

2: CANTILENA bellezza di Maria d’Avalos



5: Ballo Mortale (II)

6: PASSACAGLIA DELLA MORTE ...morire d’asfissia su un’altalena

Duration: 16 Minutes

Publisher of notes/sheet music: Strube-Verlag München , Strube Edition 7215 , 2018

Instrumentation: Violine 1+2, Viola, Violoncello 1+2

Introduction: GESUALDO
Variazioni su „Moro, lasso, al mio duolo“
per quintetto d’archi
Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613) can be considered one of the most courageous and mysterious composers of all times. His madrigal art guides harmonically to the times of Wagner and is unprecedented for his era. The background behind the permanent themes of 'death' and 'pain' for the art of composing is the murder of his beautiful wife Maria d’Avalos that led to depression and isolation... and the establishment of the radical movement that can only be understood when considering the mentioned background.
This composition adopts the dark sweetness that dominates Gesualdo's madrigal art and that cannot be seen any clearer than in the madrigal Moro, lasso, al mio duolo of his year of death - 1613 (from the 6th madrigal book). The striking sequences of chords C sharp major / A minor / H major / G major are used as the main theme and are introduced in No. 1 PROLOG. In No. 6 PASSACAGLIA DELLA MORTE they are complemented to form a quaver time Passacaglia sequence. The final tune and its swaying, sliding and glissando also refers to the reported gruesome killing of his child: tied to a swing set in the yard of a castle and exposed for days to choral tunes ... until the child died.
This String Quintet owns two elaborated parts for two Cello....and so there is a certain connection to Franz Schuberts Streichquintett C-Dur op.posth. 163 D956. In concert programs it would be a fine dramaturgy to combine these works... based on the idea of death and sweet pain.

Dedication: ....cordially dedicated to Monika Henschel

World premiere:  20.06.2018, München Schloß Nymphenburg, Hubertus-Saal

Performers at world premiere: Nymphenburg-Ensemble:
Christoph Henschel & Stefan Arzberger - Violinen, Monika Henschel - Viola,
Hendrik Blumenroth & Raphael Paratore - Celli
The soundexamples below are a simple mobile-recording at the first premiere in Nymphenburg Castle inMunich. The original Madrigal "Moro lasso..." in the last sound example was sung by Vokalensemble SINGPHONIKER.