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Ardella Crawford
American Record Guide, October 2000

"Flemish Renaissance music seems quite fashionable at the moment. But, unlike most fads, it's actually worth all the attention it's getting. In our last issue I reviewed Piffaro's wonderful new Flemish release and mentioned At the sign of the Crumhorn by way of comparison. Now I am happy to talk about this charming release in more detail.

The Convivium Musicum is a mixed voice and period instrument ensemble at the Gothenburg College of Music. Instruments include all the wacky Renaissance music-makers that make you grin when you hear them: shawm, dulcian, pommer, trombone, and - of course - the crumhorn. All the music here is taken from the first three of the justly famous music books of Tielman Susato, whose efforts did much to popularize Flemish music in Europe. The first two books consist of 55 settings of Dutch texts; the title page reads, "Amorous songs in our Netherlandish tongue, composed by divers composers, very pleasing to sing and play on all musical instruments, printed in Antwerp by Tielman Susato, residing at the sign of the Crummhorn." The third book is Susato's even more famous collection of dances, so enjoyable even to modern listeners.

Though Susato composed for these books himself, he also included the work of many other composers. Represented here are Josquin Baston, Lupus Hellinc, Carolus Souliaert, Benedictus Appenzeller, and Jacob Clemens non papa. All the music is secular and mostly about such questionable topics as drinking too much and making love, so it's quite lively. The singing is both energetic and highly expressive, as is the playing. This is a great addition to the Naxos catalog and to Renaissance music in general.

Oh Flanders Free has even more of a vocal emphasis than Crummhorn; well over half the number are for voice. Capilla Flamenca has all-male singers with instruments. This program represents all kinds of Renaissance music: Gregorian chant, parts of the Mass, motets, madrigals, chansons, and dance music. Most of the names are familiar, including Johannes Ockeghem, Josquin des Prez, Henry VIII, Tielman Susato (one piece only), and Pierre de La Rue. The tone is set at the beginning with an excerpt from the Requiem Mass, so the entire program is generally rather grave and introspective. It balances out the more extroverted and boisterous dance music on Crummhorn. And I enjoyed Capilla Flamenca as much as I did Gothenburg's Convivium Musicum.

Both discs have excellent sound and very attractive booklets, with plenty of information, texts, and translations."

Pizzicato, June 2000

"Naxos nous offre ici un petit bijou de littérature musicale flamande du XVI siècle. A cette epoque, l'éditeur Tielman Susato réussit à imposer le maintien de la langue néerlandaise pour des oeuvres vocales, d'habitude systématiquement traduites en Allemand ou en Francais, et publie des receils de chansons, psaumes et autres motets.

Le Convivium Musicum Gothenburgense nous fait découvrir ce splendide patrimoine dans un grand souci d'authenticité, tant pour la partie vocale que pour la partie instrumental. Il restitue les partitions d'auteurs anonymes ou bien connus avec beaucoup de maîtrise et d'ampleur et nous invite a un merveilleux voyage dans le passé: chansons à caractère amoureux ou religieux et basses-danses seduisent l'auditeur par leur caractère élégant, paisible ou entraînant... Il n'y a qu'à fermer les yeux et se laisser ennener."

"Naxos offers us here a small jewel of sixteenth-century Flemish musical literature. At that time, the publisher Tielman Susato succeeded in maintaining the prominence of the Dutch language for vocal works, usually systematically translated into either German or French, and published in collections of songs, psalms and others motets.

Le Convivium Musicum Gothenburgense delivers this splendid inheritance with a great concern for authenticity, for the vocal part as well as for the instrumental. It masterfully revives the scores of anonymous and well known composers with mastery and invites us on a marvellous voyage into the past: sacred and secular songs, folk dances seduce the listener by their elegant, peaceful or lively character... Simply close your eyes and let them take you away."

Emma Wakelin
International Record Review, May 2000

"As Susato explained on his title-page, the songs may be performed on various combinations of voices and instruments, and the Convivium Musicum Gothenburgense do just this, every possible combination proving equally effective and persuasive. The shawms, dulcians and trombones offer an impressively rich sound in the anonymous dances arranged by Susato, especially track 15, with its very catchy refrain, and 13, Susato's own Myns liefkens bruyn ooghen, which could easily be mistaken for a Gabrieli canzona. There are also gentle and sweet-toned performances by four recorders on tracks 11 (by Josquin Baston) and 17 (by Clemens non Papa), and (to my surprise, I have to admit) by four crumhorns on track 21. In each piece the intonation, articulation and, especially, the rhythmic energy are excellent, the latter quality particularly striking in the syncopations and hemiolas of Susato's arrangement of an anonymous 'Hoboken Dance' (track 18). In the vocal track the singing has a delightfully ingenuous quality that matches perfectly the rustic and slightly wistful nature of most of the texts, and is accompanied with great sensitivity by lute, viols and various soft wind instruments. On track 1, in contrast, the group clearly relishes the opportunities presented by Hellinck's rowdy song Compt alle uut, a list of the various afflictions handed out by Fortune, to ham up the descriptions of those 'who like a drink' or who suffer from 'a runny nose and cold knees.' This disc represents excellent value for money, and provides an entertaining and highly musical introduction to a repertory that deserves to be more familiar than it is."

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