L'arte del madrigale / La Venexiana

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Over the years Glossa has been at the forefront of releasing recordings of late Renaissance madrigals, and the label has had the pleasure of assisting superlative artists in doing so: none more so than the voices of La Venexiana and its director Claudio Cavina. A reflection of such creative richness comes through now in a special limited-edition nine-CD box set, entitled L’arte del madrigale.

The recordings date from the dozen years after La Venexiana’s foundation in 1996, a time of great activity for the ensemble, and which complements the Monteverdi Complete Madrigals Books set, released two years ago. These two impressive box sets demonstrate very effectively why La Venexiana has been so popular with audiences and why it has been fêted by critics also.

It is remarkable to have such musical and expressive guides – and with such interpretative consistency – to take one now through the potent thirty yearperiod in the development of the Italian madrigal from 1586 onwards; a time when the madrigal reached its zenith. Within the nonet of recordings in L’arte del madrigale are to be found complete books of madrigals from composers who reflected the greater textual expressivity of the new seconda prattica – Luzzaschi, Wert and Marenzio – along with the Neapolitan freedoms demonstrated by Gesualdo and D’India. The new box set contains all the booklets for the original recordings (as PDF files) as well as a new essay written by Stefano Russomanno.

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Reviews of selected individual volumes within this set:

D'india: Third Book Of Madrigals:

Renaissance courtiers revelled in suffering: the texts are anguished plaints of rejected lovers, rarely relieved by passion requited. So this is not a disc to hear straight through, any more than d’India’s book was intended for a single performance. Absorb the text, listen several times to its musical illumination, to savour d’India’s wayward harmonies (learnt from Gesualdo), and his synthesis of old counterpoint and, in the last eight madrigals, the new continuo-accompanied style of Monteverdi. La Venexiana’s finely recorded six voices, two theorbos and harpsichord are peerless advocates of this pinnacle of amorous fervour.

– BBC Music Magazine

Gesualdo: Il Quarto Libro Di Madrigali, 1596:


With this release the ensemble La Venexiana and its Glossa label present one of the finest recorded programs of Gesualdo madrigals in the catalog. And, as we hear throughout, these singers, with unflagging musical intensity and knowing sensitivity to the texts--and without the slightest hint of overplaying--give us the sense that we might be experiencing these pieces as their original audiences did, without the pretentiousness or self-conscious formality that ruins so many modern performances of early music.

– ClassicsToday

Luzzaschi - Concerto Delle Dame

Claudio Cavina, who has always done repertoire of this type so well, uses three sopranos and four players from his ensemble with superb results. An exceptionally attractive disc.

– Fanfare


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: GCD920930


  • UPC: 8424562209305


  • Label: Glossa


  • Composer: Carlo Gesualdo, Giaches de Wert, Luca Marenzio, Ludovico Agostini, Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Paolo Virchi, Sigismondo D'India


  • Conductor: Claudio Cavina


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: La Venexiana


  • Performer: Claudio Cavina, Daniele Carnovich, Emaneula Gali, Fabio Bonizzoni, Franco Pavan, Gabriele Palomba, Giuseppe Maletto, Loredana Gintoli, Nadia Ragni, Paul Beier, Rodney Prada, Rossana Bertini, Sandro Naglia, Valentina Coladonato