A good half of all the lute music from the 16th century that has survived consists of arrangements of vocal music. To have a manuscript by a renowned composer performed by one of his contemporary lute virtuosos is like winning the lottery twice — or at least like floating around the Greek islands for an entire summer with a willing partner and meals included.
First of all, the music itself is of exceptional quality; the lutenist, however, then changes tessitura and key, he repeats certain passages and omits others. He launches certain passages and omits others with sober and measured gestures. Rhythmic patterns are treated freely. He omits certain lines and adds others. Conflicting versions of the same arrangement appear in print. He brands his chosen ficta undeniable into the lute tablature.
The realisation of this music from its tabulature acts like a hallucinatory drug. The Ratas del viejo Mundo, their heads in the clouds, travel thousands of kilometres from every corner of Europe and come together around instrumental music, chansons and secular polyphonic works from before 1600. These ‘rats of the old world’ discover the freedom of a particularly sensual musical language as they assign the various lines from these instrumental works to the singers and instrumentalists of the collective. The contrapuntal labyrinths cease to appear as impregnable fortresses; their historical aspect becomes much less ritualistic and the rats are challenged to seek the most carnal forms of expression. The music has concealed a personal invitation for all this time.
Ratas del viejo Mundo now presents RIONS NOIR, an intimate and kaleidoscopic microcosmos of repertoire from the Burgundian and Paris schools; this will be followed by OSSESSO, a recording of extravagant madrigals.