Even today, at the end of Good Friday, the Passion of Christ is re-enacted in the form of the Stations of the Cross in the village of Gesualdo (in the province of Avellino) and in the direction of the castle where the prince of Venosa lived out his final years amidst melancholy thoughts and an increasingly precarious state of health. But among the Holy Week rituals the Tenebrae Office, which is the main feature the Paschal triduum of the Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, assumes the highest significance.

Therefore, the ‘Gesualdo of the madrigals’, with his style distinguished by a rigorous search for clever devices in both harmony and the counterpoint, inevitably left profound traces in the ‘Gesualdo of the sacred music’, and especially in that of the Responsoria.

Marco Bizzarini

There is no doubt that the language which Gesualdo makes use of in these gorgeous pieces is that of the madrigal; the difference that exists lies in the subject matter. Rather than being about the heartbreak suffered by young lovers, in these responsories torment, suffering, blood and death are all real and tangible. Through the musical representation we are witnesses to the subject of the most vivid and cruel passion, and at the same time, the most profoundly spiritual.

Giuseppe Maletto

Over three CDs Gesualdo’s creative musical response to the Passion of Christ is interspersed with spiritual madrigals from some of his best-known contemporaries (Luzzaschi, Marenzio, de Macque and Vinci). Also included are two comparative rarities from Gesualdo’s sacred output, In te Domine speravi and Ne reminiscaris, Domine.


Rossana Bertini, soprano
Francesca Cassinari, soprano
Elena Carzaniga, alto
Giuseppe Maletto, tenor
Raffaele Giordani, tenor
Daniele Carnovich, bass


In I. Nocturno
01 In monte Oliveti
02 Tristis est anima mea
03 Ecce vidimus eum

Madrigale spirituale
04 Giovanni de Macque: I’ vo piangendo i miei passati tempi
(Terzo Libro a cinque voci, 1597)

In II. Nocturno
05 Amicus meus osculi
06 Iudas mercator pessimus
07 Unus ex discipulis meis

Madrigale spirituale
08 Luzzasco Luzzaschi: S’homai d’ogni su’ errore
(Quarto Libro, 1594)

In III. Nocturno
09 Eram quasi agnus innocens
10 Una hora non potuistis
11 Seniores populi consilium

Psalmus 30
12 In te Domine speravi
(Salmi delle compiete, Naples, 1594)


In I. Nocturno
01 Sicut ovis ad occisionem
02 Hyerusalem luge
03 Plange quasi virgo

Madrigale spirituale
04 Sparge la morte al mio Signor nel viso
(Madrigali a cinque voci, Libro quarto, 1596)

In II. Nocturno
05 Recessit pastor noster
06 O vos omnes
07 Ecce quomodo moritur iustus

Madrigale spirituale
08 Pietro Vinci: Le braccia aprendo in croce
(Quattordeci Sonetti spirituali, a cinque voci, 1580)

In III. Nocturno
09 Astiterunt reges terrae
10 Aestimatus sum
11 Sepulto Domino

Psalmus 50
12 Miserere mei, Deus

13 Ne reminiscaris, Domine
(Stefano Felis, Liber secundus motectorum, 1585)


Total playing time: 58:34 + 64:34 + 63:28
Recorded in Roletto, Italy, between June and December 2013
Engineered by Giuseppe Maletto
Produced by CDM
Booklet essay by Marco Bizzarini
English – Français – Italiano – Deutsch


In I. Nocturno
01 Omnes amici mei
02 Velum templi scissum est
03 Vinea mea electa

Madrigale spirituale
04 Luzzasco Luzzaschi: Quivi sospiri, pianti e alti guai
(Secondo Libro, 1576)

In II. Nocturno
05 Tamquam ad latronem
06 Tenebrae factae sunt
07 Animam meam dilectam

Madrigale spirituale
08 Luca Marenzio: È questo il legno che del sacro sangue
(Madrigali spiritali, Libro primo, 1584)

In III. Nocturno
09 Traditerunt me in manus
10 Iesum tradidit impius
11 Caligaverunt oculi mei

Canticum Zachariae
12 Benedictus

in monte oliveti
tristis est anima mea