If only Gesualdo would have known how his image today is still much decided by his infamous murder of his cheating wife and the bed-partner he found with her in october 1590. After all, the story fits effortlessly within the extreme music Gesualdo composed - and he must have known that for sure as he actively sought out provocation. His body of works is quite straightforward and it has been fully published during his own lifetime: six books of madrigals, two collections Sacrarum cantionum and a collection of responsories for the Holy Week.
In his madrigals, Gesualdo follows the text closely and uses every opportunity to express the lyrics musically. This led to fragmented, capricious, complex and above all chromatic madrigals. Gesualdo's religious music is comparable to his madrigals, but the chromaticism is less extreme and his lines are more fluent.