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Catherine Bott is joined by Gesualdo expert Professor Glenn Watkins to talk about the controversial life of the composer in the year which marks 400 years since his death.

The infamous life of the Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo is full of drama, intrigue and death. Among accusations of a double murder, witchcraft and masochism stands an extraordinary body of music with its own tortured chromatic sound world. To mark the 400th anniversary of the composer's death, Catherine Bott talks with renowned Gesualdo expert Professor Glenn Watkins to explore whether an understanding of the time in which the isolated Prince lived can cast any further light on his seemingly bizarre life.

58 minutes

Music Played

  • Carlo Gesualdo

    Moro Lasso from Book VI of Madrigals

    Performer: Il Complesso Barocco. Performer: Alan Curtis (conductor).
    • PC10229.
    • Track 17.
  • Carlo Gesualdo

    O dolorosa giota from Book V of Madrigals

    Performer: The Hilliard Ensemble.
    • ECM.
    • 4764755.
    • Track 5.
  • Carlo Gesualdo

    O Vos Omnes (Responsorium V from Tenebrae Responsories for Holy Saturday) – P.64 Hex

    Performer: Tenebrae. Performer: Nigel Short (director).
    • ARCHIV.
    • 4790841.
    • Track 5.
  • Carlo Gesualdo

    Tenebrae factae sunt from Tenebrae Responsories for Good Friday

    Performer: Taverner Consort & Choir. Performer: Andrew Parrott (conductor).
    • SK62977.
    • Track 12.
  • Luzzasco Luzzaschi

    Itene mie querele

    Performer: La Venexiana.
    • GLOSSA.
    • GCD920905.
    • Track 24.
  • Nicola Vicentino

    Laura che il verde lauro

    Performer: Doulce Memoire. Performer: Denis Raisin Dadre (director).
    • NAÏVE.
    • E8847.
    • Track 16.
  • Carlo Gesualdo

    O anima sanctissima from Sacrae Cantiones (Liber Secundus)

    Performer: Vocal Consort Berlin. Performer: James Wood (director).
    • HMC902123.
    • Track 10.
  • Sigismondo d’India

    Donna, quanto piu a dentro

    Performer: La Venexiana.
    • GLOSSA.
    • GCD920903.
    • Track 17.
  • Carlo Gesualdo

    Belta, poi che t'assenti from Book VI of Madrigals

    Performer: Concerto Italiano. Performer: Rinaldo Alessandrini (conductor).
    • NAÏVE.
    • OP30486.
    • Track 6.