Album of the day: La Venexiana, "Luzzasco Luzzaschi"

Album of the day: La Venexiana, “Luzzasco Luzzaschi”

The Venexiana
Luzzasco Luzzaschi: Fifth book of madrigals (Cd Glossa 920905)

The name of Luzzasco Luzzaschi (1545-1607) is much less known today than that of his pupil Girolamo Frescobaldi or his contemporary Gesualdo da Venosa, but when he was alive he had fame and honors throughout Europe, becoming one of the musical hubs of Ferrara , a city which, thanks to the composers who worked there, from Josquin to Cipriano de Rore (who was Luzzaschi's teacher) was one of the European capitals of musical art.

A great harpsichordist and organist, he was the author of an excellent madrigal production which should be counted among the authentic treasures
that Renaissance music gave to the world. His best-known works are linked to the Concerto delle Dame, a vocal and instrumental ensemble founded in Ferrara by Margherita Gonzaga, sister of the Duke of Mantua. The ability of these musicians to sing and play was widespread throughout Italy, and she inspired illustrious authors such as Gesualdo, Marenzio and Vecchi; for them Luzzaschi wrote in 1601 what many consider his masterpiece, the Madrigals for 1, 2, 3, Sopranos, but all the vocal production by this author is worthy of being put on a par with the pages of Monteverdi and Gesualdo .

These are very difficult compositions to perform due to the infinite nuances with which Luzzaschi combines the verses with music that is melodically splendid, masterful from a contrapuntal point of view and extremely daring from a harmonic point of view, always very inspired. The Italian ensemble La Venexiana is, quite simply, the best existing group for this repertoire (I'm not exaggerating: their Monteverdian recordings are also superb).

Under the expert guidance of Claudio Cavina, who also oversaw the revision and ornamentation of the original scores following strictly philological yet always fresh and spontaneous criteria, Luzzaschi's madrigals are reborn to new life.
Engaging music, impossible to forget thanks to the creation of these meritorious artists who magically manage to make us feel like we own the works written many centuries ago; this is certainly one of the highest goals that performers can achieve, a goal that is often inaccessible for many but a natural habitat for the talented musicians of La Venexiana.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.