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Carlo Gesualdo Composer

Ave, dulcissima Maria, W8.17 (a5)

Performances: 5
Tracks: 5
  • Ave, dulcissima Maria, W8.17 (a5)
    Year: 1603
    Genre: Motet
    Pr. Instrument: Chorus/Choir
This is one of Gesualdo's relatively early pieces, and while we see some of the characteristics

of the later Gesualdo, it is not as experimental as many of his later compositions.

The opening is quite transparent, without the very close-knit harmonics that give his later

pieces that characteristic chromatic murkiness. But like later Gesualdo, it uses short

consecutive phrases to build the musical structure, but with the upper voices producing

the same soaring effect we usually hear in longer-phrased works. It also has some of the

unexpected qualities of later Gesualdo, especially in the tenor passages, which will suddenly

and disconcertingly rise from the ensemble to stand out in sharp relief for a moment and

then subside. We also hear the same depth of emotional effect that we rather expect

from Gesualdo—the very simple technique of a short pause, the monophonic "o, " when

addressing the Virgin Mary, set off by another short pause is quite dramatic, and when perfectly

timed and executed, is almost breath-taking in its simplicity in contrast to the rest of the

piece, and particularly moving.

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