Unbalanced vocal parts leave room to improve
La Venexiana ***
NO doubt on account of his high social standing, Prince Carlo Gesualdo di Venosa took it for granted that he could overlook the normally accepted conventions when composing music for the church. He chose, for example, to ignore the custom that frowned on the inclusion of vocal ornamentation in items sung during Holy Week.
His nine Tenebrae responsori per il Sabato Santo present a challenge to present day audiences, which is more or less analogous with that of listening to an unfamiliar piece of contemporary music for the first time. Gesualdo's innovative chromaticisms and rhythmic twists must have taken his contemporaries by surprise.
The six singers of La Venexiana were brought together in 1996 by their director, Claudio Cavina - who sings countertenor in the group.
They offered somewhat mannered interpretations of uneven quality.
The main shortcoming was a periodic lack of balance between the various parts. All too often a sustained note was allowed to swell to the extent of obscuring other interesting points of detail.
To quote examples from the opening section of No 3 [Piange quasi virgo], when the quaver movement started on the word mea, it was inaudible, and shortly after that most of the fast-moving detail to which the words ululate pastores are set was similarly unclear.
With the director an active participant, there are obvious difficulties in ensuring balance of parts.
The problem is easily surmounted when recording, but it is obvious that some solution has to be found when rehearsing for public performances.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West