Extracted from Renaissance composer Gesualdo’s Fourth Book of Madrigals, Io Tacerò was originally scored for five voices. Ambrose has done a masterful job of adapting the surprisingly chromatic choral work for the modern wind ensemble, showcasing the brass instruments with solo passages in the middle of this heart-wrenching composition.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 3 | Duration: 4:00
Clarinet in Bb 1
Clarinet in Bb 2
Clarinet in Bb 3
Bass Clarinet in Bb
Alto Saxophone 1
Alto Saxophone 2
Trumpet in Bb 1
Trumpet in Bb 2
Horn in F
Timpani (4 drums)
Carlo Gesualdo (1566–1613) is best known as a prolific composer of madrigals. Much of his music is characterized by wild, often jarring chromaticism, the likes of which was not seen again until the nineteenth century, some 300 years later. Gesualdo’s highly original music is often overshadowed by the brutal murders of his wife and her lover that he committed in 1590. By most accounts, these actions haunted him for the remainder of his life and certainly contributed to the depression and eventual self-isolation that characterized his final years.
Io tacerò, ma nel silenzio mio first appeared in Volume IV of Gesualdo’s madrigals for five voices, published in Ferrara in 1596. While the source of the text is unknown, its representation of emotional extremes is characteristic of those chosen by the then-tormented composer. English translation by Matthew Smyth:
Io tacerò, ma nel silenzio mio,
La lagrime i sospiri,
Diranno i miei martiri.
Ma s’avverrà ch’io mora,
Griderà poi per me la morte ancora.
(I will keep quiet, yet in my silence,
My tears and sighs,
Shall tell of my pain.
And if I should die,
Death shall cry out for me once again.)
In van dunque, o crudele,
Vuoi che’l mio duol e’l tuo rigor si cele.
Poi che mia cruda sorte
Da la voce al silenzio ed a la morate.
(Thus in vain, oh cruel one,
Yearn you for my pain and your harshness to be hidden.
Since my cruel fate
Gives voice to silence and to death.)