Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Triduum

There was no call for my or the Schola's services over the Triduum so I was rather left to my own devices.

I decided to listen to Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories as they are set - for the mornings of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. He set all 27 responsories and the music is notable not only for his distinctive harmonic world but also for his vivid word painting and sudden, sometimes shocking, dramatic and musical turns.

Gesualdo was an extraordinary character who straddled the 16th and 17th centuries. An Italian nobleman, he murdered his wife and her lover when he caught them together. He then hung their bodies on the front of his house. He is also thought to have murdered his son, whose paternity he doubted. Towards the end of his life he became a recluse, it is said hiring handsome young men to whip him. His music is as unusual and exotic as was his life.

In the afternoons I listened to the Goodall recording of Wagner's "Parsifal", act by act. A mystical and strange work dealing with the great themes of Christianity, the music is of enormous passion, depth and power.

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