Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa, is equally celebrated as the composer of madrigals of great power and tortured complexity and as the murderer of his wife and her lover in flagrante delicto. His life and compositions are not unconnected. His neurotic sensibility found an ideal outlet in the mannerist tendencies of late Renaissance music and his works are the most extreme examples of those tendencies.
Glenn Watkins's extended study of Gesualdo's life and works was originally published in 1973. Alongside detailed analysis of Gesualdo's remarkable madrigals and of the few works in different genres, it contained much new biographical material, particularly on the latter part of the composer's life. This new edition has been extensively updated by the author and contains a new chapter covering the research of recent years.