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1393Re: [CalontirDance] Book Review, Part One

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  • Carol O'Connell
    May 10, 2010
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      Hi Christian,

      Thanks for posting this and sharing with the music community.

      It's very interesting, but, well, I'm sorry to say my brain is a little too
      much of a simpleton's to really appreciate it. Not really my cup of tea, in
      terms of what I prefer to listen to.

      That said... how very fascinating! He definitely doesn't sound like a
      composer of his time, that's for sure.

      What is it about his music that attracts you to him? Or is it more of a kind
      of eerie fascination more than admiration?

      Tell us more!
      Conna

      On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 9:44 PM, ChrisM <c.mortika@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > Okay. I've finished reading a pretty recently-published book on a
      > Renaissance composer, and I thought I would try to write a review about it.
      > But the book makes a lot of presumptions about its audience, so reviewing
      > the book is to be hard without getting a running start.
      >
      > So, this is kind of a prelude to a book report on "The Gesualdo Hex," by
      > this dude named Glenn Watkins. I'm hoping to start a discussion about some
      > music, and then the most infamous murders in the history of music.
      >
      > First, I'd ask those among us who think this sounds intriguing to listen to
      > a composition called "Ecco, moriro dunque"
      >
      > The sheet music is at
      > http://icking-music-archive.org/scores/gesualdo/QuartoLibro/ges-4-16.pdf
      >
      > A fantastic performance (by JovenCaFi, a string quintet):
      > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoxlKdV-iQI
      >
      > In particular, I'd ask you to listen for the chromaticism (the artful use
      > of accidentals). There are other Renaissance compositions that use chromatic
      > runs (the English Composer Simpson has a passage in his "Chromatic Pavane
      > and Galliard" where at least one instrument or another is always moving
      > half-step-wise downward. But that's a kind of stunt. It's "a thing to do
      > with chromatics!")
      >
      > Gesualdo, the composer of the piece, uses chromatics in a much more mature
      > way. The most severe comes in the first dozen or so measures of the Second
      > Pars (which starts about 1:27 in the video performance. It's right there, in
      > our face, but it's not a stunt. Those weird dissonances are there because
      > they're the tools he needs to get the job done.
      >
      > Less intrusively, he uses all sorts of accidentals in the first phrases of
      > the piece.
      >
      > I think it gives the piece a much more modern feeling, like program music
      > of the 19th or 20th Century, rather than the 16th.
      >
      > Your thoughts?
      >
      > --Christian
      >
      >
      >


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