Design by Austin Boyer
Music en Wallonie [review of “De Orto and Josquin”]
Despite the collapse of the record industry and the marginalization of scholarly music, the small label “Music en Wallonie” holds strong! A “niche” label, focused not on the performers—with the exception of some key singers—but on the composers of Wallonia which, over the last six centuries, which saw the birth of giants including Lassus, Binchois, Ciconia, Josquin, Franck, Ysaÿe, etc. Musique en Wallonie is no longer a niche but a real pantheon (120 albums); it owes its international influence to the enthusiasm of its leaders, researchers at ULg and ULB, the level of the interpreters, Walloon and non-Walloon, and the quality of the booklets.
Three ambitious publications accompany this good news, two of which are entrusted to American ensembles. Cut Circle, directed by Jesse Rodin (Stanford University), recreates an imaginary concert in the Sistine Chapel, around 1490, with, in focus on L’homme arme (anonymous), which served as a starting point for Marbrianus de Orto and especially Josquin Desprez. In the same set, the musicians—whose direct but finely wrought vocality is characterized by perfect accuracy—introduce works by van Weerbeke and Vaqueras, “scandalously understudied” composers of the same period.
Each album is refined and richly documented.