Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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From an early age Gesualdo was obsessed with music. To begin with it seems that he was ashamed of this, perhaps for social reasons, and cultivated a pseudonym (Gioseppe Pilonij). However, public interest in him brought his secret into the open, and there are many contemporary testimonies to his abilities as a composer. One of the strongest influences on him was the musical establishment of Alfonso II d’Este in Ferrara, especially the virtuoso singing of ‘the three ladies’ and the avant-garde compositions of such court composers as Luzzaschi. Through his publications Gesualdo became respected as more than an accomplished amateur at composition and, from about 1595, he tried to establish his own group of court musicians at his castle of Gesualdo, near Naples. The last years of his life were spent in seclusion at Gesualdo where his intense melancholia drove him to the verge of insanity. His second wife tried several times to obtain a divorce from him.
from notes by Peter Phillips © 1987