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Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices (1995)
"Tod für fünf Stimmen" (original title)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary | Biography | Music  -  1995 (Germany)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 437 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 4 critic

Works, legend and murders of Carlo Gesualdo, a notorious Italian composer and murderer from 16th century.

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Title: Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices (TV Movie 1995)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pasquale D'Onofrio
Salvatore Catorano
Angelo Carrabs
Milva ...
Herself
Angelo Michele Trorriello
Raffaele Virocolo
Vincenzo Giusto
Giovanni Iudica
Walter Beloch
Principe d'Avalos
Antono Massa
Alan Curtis
Gennaro Miccio
Silvano Milli
Marisa Milli
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Works, legend and murders of Carlo Gesualdo, a notorious Italian composer and murderer from 16th century.

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1995 (Germany)  »

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Death for Five Voices  »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting but heavily flawed
16 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Regarding Herzog's "Death for Five Voices" I can only offer a few comments. First, as an enthusiast of Herzog's work, I have to wonder at the somewhat slipshod nature of the production itself.

Secondly, there is a lot of credence given to unreliable sources -- an interest in local color over accuracy, but still very entertaining. I enjoyed the eccentricity of the production -- it seemed a good match to the subject matter.

Lastly, my main objection, beyond the luridness, is that the singing which should really represent Gesualdo at his finest is neither well-sung nor well-recorded. Any recording by a current early-music ensemble would be preferable to the shaky intonation (absolutely fatal to the impact of Gesualdo's music) and horrible balance (with the bass totally dominating the ensemble). Gesualdo's daring ideas live or die on the basis of fine performance. Here, Herzog (or more accurately, the vocal ensembles which participated) lets us down completely.

And finally, the "background music" is completely out-of-kilter with the entire idea. Would it not have made sense to at least use some sort of relevant music of the period to connect and overlay the scenes?

I'm grateful to have seen this production, as it filled in gaps in my understanding of one of the most interesting musical figures of the period, but I'm afraid that the flaws and miscalculations weigh heavily against its value.


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