CARLO GESUALDO DI VENOSA:
"Tenebrae factae sunt" - Darkness covers
the earth, when Jesus dies on the cross. Even though he knows that he
was sent by God to redeem humankindt and is going to rise and eventually
return to his father again Gesualdo´s Jesus does not die in peace.
More than once, he curses the one who betrayed him: "It had been good
for that man, if he had never been born." Again and again, he has appealed
to God, has asked for mercy and has not understood why God would save
Barrabas and crucify his own son. He is full of doubts: "My God, why hast
thou forsaken me?" Even after death, his voice rises in anger: "They laid
me in the lower pit, in dark places, and in the shadow of death."
Christ's death on the cross ends his earthly suffering and evokes deep
sorrow and great lament among his followers. This is impressively carried
by the music. In the first part, the music draws from jarring dissonances
and onomatopoeic effects to cover the dramatic events up to the betrayal
and Crucifixion of Christ. In the following, the general sense of sadness
and shame that can be felt through the liturgical text after Christ's
death, is mirrored in a slightly reduced arrangement of the voices, which,
nonetheless, by the use of at the time unknown harmonic structures, manages
to display unexpected colours and refined textures for the listener. Blamefully
and lethargically at the same time, the music becomes aware of Jesus'
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