A riveting investigation of one of the most provocative musicians of the Renaissance, who continues to captivate composers, artists, and audiences today. In this vivid tale of adultery and intrigue, witchcraft and murder, Glenn Watkins explores the fascinating life of Renaissance composer Gesualdo -- a life suffused with scandal and bordering on the fantastical -- as well as the undeniable impact of his music on a host of twentieth-century musicians and artists from Stravinsky and Schnittke to Abbado and Herzog. Tracing the vitalizing force of Renaissance chromaticism to our own day, this multifaceted account weaves together the cumulative experience of some of the most vibrant musicians of the past half century. The Gesualdo Hex considers how music inevitably takes on a new guise as it is revisited by subsequent generations and how history plays with the evidence. This compelling book asks us to grapple with our understanding not only of art and the artists who create it, but also of history itself.
Glenn Watkins is the author of four books, including Proof Through the Night: Music and the Great War and Gesualdo: The Man and His Music, and is coeditor of Gesualdo's complete works. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.