JOSQUIN. Baisiez moy   /  Thélème

[6.1.2022] |
Aparté 259

Recorded: April-May 2021 (Magden, Suisse)
Released: 2021

1. Baisiez moy   [1:08]
2. Fama malum   [1:59]
3. Dulces exuviae   [2:51]
4. Belle, pour l'amour de vous   [1:15]

5. La Bernardina   [1:28]   arr. Francesco Spinacino / 2 lutes
6. En l'ombre d'ung buissonnet   [0:59]
7. Qui belles amours a   [5:42]   Fender Rhodes
8. R(icerca)da   [2:05]   anon., Ms. di Castell' Arquato / Fender Rhodes

9. Ecce tu pulchra es   [4:02]
10. Bergerette savoisienne   [4:41]   ondes Martenot
11. Guillaume se va chauffer / El Grillo   [2:38]   ondes Martenot
12. Unisono 2   [5:55]   Buchla

13. Nymphes des bois   [4:30]   Déploration sur la mort de Jean Ockeghem / ondes Martenot
14. Je ris   [2:44]   Fender Rhodes
15. Ut Phoebi radiis   [4:45]
16. Tant vous aimme   [1:21]

17. Mille regretz   [3:39]   Fender Rhodes
18. Adieu mes amours   []   lute, ondes Martenot
19. Plus nulz regretz   [5:42]
20. La Bernardina   [1:17]   a 3 / Fender Rhodes

Jean-Christophe Groffe

Julien Freymuth — alto
Lior Leibovici — tenor
Ivo Haun — tenor, lute
Jean-Christophe Groffe — bass

Ziv Braha — lute
Ludovic Van Hellemont — ondes Martenot, Fender Rhodes

#12: Nicolas Buzzi — Buchla synthesizer
#13: Matthieu Romanens, tenor | Simon MacHale, baritone | Luis Neiva, bass


[6.1.2022] Remarks
3 January 2022
Todd M. McComb


And I wasn't familiar with the Swiss ensemble Thélème prior to their Josquin Anniversary contribution, Baisiez moy, but their previous albums are a broad trilogy oriented on Janequin (that I obviously hadn't noticed). In that, their Josquin album recalls various aspects of the Parisian chanson, and so suggests elements of close compatibility with e.g. Ensemble Clement Janequin's new Josquin album, but they're also using self-consciously modern instruments — in fact, being technical, 20th century instruments, not 21st century instruments. In some ways this is a "spice" & I've enjoyed many of their lively interpretations here — perhaps focusing more on (vocal) effects than my preference in general, but yielding some rousing Josquin (with some very clear motivic articulation)... — but it's also apparently their thing.

So let me give more specific impressions. The Buchla appears only on one strange track of buzzing that appears to have nothing to do with Josquin: This track is, uh, enigmatic. The Fender Rhodes, though, sounds more or less like some weird period keyboard. (The music comes through in a straightforward way.) And the ondes Martenot... definitely seems weird, and certainly nothing like instruments available in the past, but I've kind of come to enjoy that too (as a sort of "vocal" accompaniment — an alternate vielle).

Of course, given the desire to use these particular instruments, I suppose there's no real reason for the group to be concerned with authorship either. That's largely ignored. But another secular album? My prior comments regarding their scarcity certainly seem to be receding into the past.... And it turns out that I've enjoyed much of Baisiez moy more than I really anticipated, yielding another look at Josquin's output, and especially his (early? epochal?) sense of motif-melody. There's a real whiff of "essence" here beneath the (sometimes self-conscious) weirdness. (And some tracks aren't "weird" at all.)