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Moro Lasso

Digital Sheet Music

By Carlo Gesualso

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Brass Quintet - Digital Download
Composed by Carlo Gesualso. Arranged by Eric Wilson. Renaissance, Recital. 14 pages. Published by Woodrow Edition (S0.810641).

Item Number: S0.810641

Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, Musician and Murderer! That’s not a news headline (though it would be quite a good one) but the title of a book by composer Peter Warlock which I read avidly after first encountering the Italian composer in a lecture at the University of Liverpool in the 1980s. We were studying the Italian madrigal, which was not really my thing until our lecturer threw Moro Lasso into the mix. Its opening chords seemed so incongruous – unlike anything we had heard – and are as striking today as they must have been in 1611 when first published in Gesualdo’s 6th Book of Madrigals.

More or less immediately after that lecture I arranged the piece for the Seras Brass Quintet which I had helped form. In those days the brass quintet repertoire was limited, and certainly didn’t include anything by Gesualdo!

The arrangement really benefits from a church-like acoustic where you can make the most of the dramatic built-in silences. The tuba part lies quite high and is very playable on a trombone if need be. Even to modern ears there are some strange sounds and I trust that all the ‘wrong’ notes are Gesualdo’s rather than mine – do let me know if you think otherwise!

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