It is presumed that Gesualdo was borne in the year 1560. After ordering
the murder of his wife, her lover, and their infant in 1590, the Prince
of Venosa, as he is sometimes known, traveled from his native Naples to
northern Italy. In 1594, he married a noblewoman, Eleonora d'Este and settled
withe her in her home at the court of Ferrara. The death of Duke Alfonso
II d'Este, in1597, marked the end of Ferrara's role as a cultural center.
This prompted Gesualdo to return to Naples. He is well known for the daring
chromatic harmonies of his madrigals. Of his six volumes of five-part madrigals,
the last two especially reveal a dramatic, highly innovative harmonic style
aimed at emotional expression. He died in the year 1613.
MADRIGAL: Six volumes of five-part madrigals.