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Madrigal - A setting for many voices of a secular text, often in Italian, dealing with themes of love. Composers of late Renaissance music and early Baroque music were particularly ingenious with "madrigalisms" -- passages in which the music assigned to a particular word expresses its meaning, for example, setting "riso" (smile) to a passage of quick, running notes which imitate laughter, or "sospiro" (sigh) to a note which falls to the note below. A second school of madrigal writing, highly influenced by the first, flourished slightly later in England. Madrigals were generally sung in the Middle Ages.

Composers of Italian madrigals:

Composers of English madrigals:




  • Fire & Ice: Madrigals
    from Stradivarius.

  • Madrigals Book I
    from Naxos.

  • The John Rutter Collection
    from Universal.
    Every piece of music on this CD is a masterpiece, inspirational, exhilarating, music for the soul. Perfect for mellow evenings under the stars or any day when you need a touch of peace and harmony.

  • Works By George Crumb
    from New World Records.
    Vox Balaenae was, along with Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children, amoung my favorite 20th century works as a child. Far from tedious, I find this work to be captivating, albeit difficult to penetrate at times as is most of Crumb's work. The piece begins with an extended flute vocalise requiring the...

  • All At Once Well Met English Madrigals
    from Angel Classics.
    The six men of the King's Singers present sweet and light-hearted madrigals of such English composers as Morley, Weelkes, Dowland, Wilbye and Byrd. The thirty five selections include "Now is the Month of Maying", "Though Philomela Lost Her Love", "Sing We and Chant It," the celebration of tobacco...

  • György Ligeti Edition Vol 4 - Vocal Works
    from Sony.
    I like Ligeti a lot. The Aventures pieces are a lot of fun, and his early work is deliciously Bartoky. But the Nonsense Madrigals are the best I've ever heard from him. Anyone who finds Ligeti's music cold or mechanical ought to check out these pieces. They'll change your mind.

  • Moreschi - The Last Castrato
    from Pearl.
    Not necessarily the best of the castrati, but certainly one of the most honored and distinct. A joy to hear. Realize they will never be heard again, although there are some vocalists out there with natural..how should I put this.. a natural lack of (...) that have lovely voices, but perhaps the...

  • Schnittke: Piano Quintet; Three Madrigals; Serenade; String Trio
    from Hyperion.
    The showpiece of this outstanding CD is the Piano Quintet, written after the death of the composer's mother. The piece is filled with pain, but is often unusually quiet, with outbursts of grief - or what I interpret as such. A distinctive motif is an obsessive single note on the piano, repeated...

  • Monteverdi: Madrigals / Rooley, The Consort of Musicke
    from Polygram Records.
    ... dissipate and morph into something quite extraordinary: the early Baroque in the hands of its first great master, Monteverdi!

    Never has a composer been so generous in gradually but persistently 'easing' his audience into a new art, a new music. True the fourth book of madrigals has Sfogava con...

  • Feel the Spirit: Songs and Spirituals
    from Collegium.
    John Rutter is not only a friend, but one of my favorite composers. I have sung his music and own most of the CDs. I listened carefully to "Feel the Spirit", looking forward to another amazing study in English music combined with excellent arrangements and sensitive vocal shaping.(One of my choir...

  • English and Italian Renaissance Madrigals
    from Angel Classics.

  • Gesualdo: Madrigals / Galliards / Canzonettas/Pslams
    from Sony.
    Yes, these performances are mostly _really_ out of tune even considering the chromatic adventures of Gesualdo. Frankly I'd rather hear other performances, though I haven't seen lots of other Gesualdo collections out there. This is a nice historical recording and has a broad range of Gesualdo's...

  • D'India - Madrigals / Révidat, V. Lucas, Wieczorek, Dugardin, Lescroart, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
    from Elektra/Asylum.

  • John Rutter: Requiem
    from Hyperion.
    If you have sung in a choir, then I suppose John Rutter's name won't be new to you. He has composed so many beautiful (hence famous) choral music like All Things Bright and Beautiful, For the Beauty of the Earth and The Lord Bless you and Keep you that make him, I can say, the 20th century master of...

  • Magnifical And Mighty
    from Aca Digital.

  • Madrigals and Wedding Songs for Diana
    from Hyperion.
    This is one of my favorite albums! I had this album on "LP" and have been looking for it for a while!

  • Bach: The Stoned Guest/Two Madrigals from The Triumph Of Thusnelda
    from Vanguard Records.
    I bought this CD last spring because I needed to learn the music quickly in order to perform "Don Octave" onstage with none other than Peter Schickele conducting! This is classic, irreverent, tongue-in-cheek PDQ at his best, and Mozart fans will especially enjoy the approach...no doubt Wolfgang...

  • Weelkes: Madrigals and Anthems
    from Asv Living Era.

  • Gesualdo: Madrigals, Book 6 Book6; Mercè grido piangendo No11
    from Harmonia Mundi Franc.
    Around the Baroque period in the 17th century, there was some unsurety whether music was tending from modality to tonality or atonality. Gesualdo was the chief atonal composer of the period. He once caught his wife & her lover in bed & responded by hacking them both to pieces with an ax....

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