Belta poi che t’assenti – Carlo Gesualdo

Belta poi che t’assenti was written by Carlo Gesualdo, it takes roughly 5 minutes. Even though the score I found for it was written for a mixed choir (Soprano, Alto1, Alto 2, Tenor & Bass), the version I listened to was only sung by men. The piece was written around an epoch where key signatures only started to develop, therefore, I wasn’t able to identify the used key signature. One flat indicates, that it should be in D-minor, but in addition to that Gesualdo used a lot of accidentals throughout the whole piece and a major G-chord at the very end.

The first few bars are homophonic, with a bright character. The first polyphonic part, starting in bar 10 in contrast, creates a more nervous sound colour. That phrase also seems slightly “messy”, when one just listens to it. In bar 39 the music gets a lighter sound again and goes back to a homophonic structure it also increases in tempo, but only for a few bars. It quickly dissolves back into a polyphonic structure, gets slower again and very dramatic until it resolves in a major chord at the end, which actually comes very surprising. The part from bar 39 to the end is repeated.

I personally found it interesting to listen to this piece, but around this epoch, there were also some warmer, nicer pieces developed (for my own personal liking). It was fascinating to see though, how Gesualdo used homophonic and polyphonic textures as contrasting structures fitting to the content of the text.

Some additional information can be found on Project 1 : Gesualdo and Madrigals.