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GRAMOPHONE (10/2022)
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Reviewer :
David Fallows

As composer of a dozen motets, 30 French songs and seven Flemish songs, mostly printed in Antwerp or Leuven from 1543 to 1553, Josquin Baston is a fairly minor figure, except that he shares a name with the much older Josquin Desprez (d1521), whose output includes many doubtful works printed long after his death, some of which could conceivably be by Baston. So far his main appearance in the catalogue has been an album entirely of guitar arrangements of his music. Obviously a closer approach is more than welcome, including as it does six of his seven Flemish songs (and I must accept the emphatic view of the informative booklet note writer, Marc Vanscheeuwijck, that they are not Dutch, against the views in Grove, MGG and Wikipedia). It also includes one song by Johannes Lupi, providing a context for the longest and most fascinating piece on this recording, the six-voice lament Eheu dolor for Lupi (d1539), with a text that at first deplores his death and then proclaims that his name will live for ever on the basis of his compositions.


The ensemble Ratas del Viejo Mundo (‘Rats of the old world’) is based in Belgium but is thoroughly international, comprising three female singers, one male singer, two viol players and a lutenist. All are marvellous artists and bring exciting life to the music. My only problems are twofold: that the choice of voices or instruments is as though following the view (now, I thought, long discarded) that no two pieces must have the same scoring; and that there is no discernible logic to the sequence of works on the programme, with Latin, French and Flemish mixed apparently at random. All texts appear with English translations.



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