The other day I wrote about a spooky harmonic progression that shows up in Wagner's early opera Die Feen and recurs in Strauss's Salome. It occurred to me that the sequence has old roots: at the beginning of Carlo Gesualdo's madrigal Moro lasso ("I die, alas, in my suffering") a chord of C-sharp major gives way to one of A minor. In the above video, the madrigal is sung by the Gesualdo Consort of Amsterdam. The shadowy Renaissance master is much in the air these days: as I mention just below, he haunts almost every page of Wesley Stace's novel Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer; he is the focus of The Gesualdo Hex, a significant new book by the musicologist Glenn Watkins (see Andrew Patner's Critical Thinking series on WFMT for an interview); and he is the subject of Marc-André Dalbavie's new opera Gesualdo, which will have its premiere at the Zurich Opera in October. There have been previous Gesualdo operas by Franz Hummel, Alfred Schnittke, and Salvatore Sciarrino. The reason for the attention is plain enough: on the night of October 16, 1590, Gesualdo, having discovered that his wife was having an affair, took the lovers by surprise and had them slaughtered in an extraordinarily bloody and vicious fashion, at one point re-entering the room to inflict more wounds upon his wife's body. It's quite a story, although I do wonder whether four operas about the man is enough.