Loquebantur – Music from the Baldwin Partbooks

Reviewed on Tue 16 Feb, 2016

John Baldwin's partbooks represent a wide-ranging and eclectic treasure-trove of Tudor church music, both British and European, both vocal and instrumental. The contributors read like an Elizabethan Greatest Hits album: music by Tallis, Byrd, Taverner, Lassus, Sheppard … and many more.

John Baldwin (1560-1615) was a singer, composer of instrumental and vocal music, and a diligent collector and copyist of other composers’ works. His partbooks represent a wide-ranging and eclectic treasure-trove of Tudor church music, both British and European, both vocal and instrumental. The contributors read like an Elizabethan Greatest Hits album: music by Tallis, Byrd, Taverner, Lassus, Sheppard … and many more. Some 60 pieces from the period are found only in Baldwin’s collection, and although the tenor partbook is lost, modern musicologists have been able to reconstruct the tenor parts. In early 2015, Signum Classics released an album of selections from Baldwin’s collection performed by Owen Rees and Contrapunctus (“In the Midst of Life”); but this new and equally rewarding selection from the Marian Consort and Rose Consort of Viols only overlaps that earlier release on one track (Gerarde’s 'Sive vigilem'). Hence both albums are well worth acquiring.
–Mark Walker