on the Vallet 2CD 'Resveillez vous'

Both the singing, and the lute playing by the Dutch lutenist Willem Mook (and of his fellow quartet members) are of the highest order.
What makes this offering really superb are the 21 Psalms of David, a really grand compositional achievement ... a delight to the ear, elegant and brilliantly inventive. The well chosen, delightful preludes from Regia Pietas that are interspersed throughout the psalms, give just the right balance to the program.
Willem Mook's playing is, moreover, equal to the task, ... both a full tone and the crisp articulation that Vallet's music demands ... His rendition of the solo works is spirited and consistently satisfying. The Vallet Lute Quartet likewise performs Vallet's quartet music with energy and rhythmic drive. All in all, this double CD is a significant achievement. Michael Stover in: Lute Society of America Quarterly, Fall 2013


The alternation of voices and tessituras render a great variety to this CD. Truly, such magnificent music and such a fervent and, at the same time, natural interpretation ... The French pronunciation is historically correct and comprehensible as well ...
The sound of the lute quartet is very successful, clear, fruity, differentiated ... A bravo for the precision of attack: one presumes a great effort by the ensemble!
... What then to say on lute player Willem? Without doubt he can be attributed numerous and rare qualities: clearness of discourse, great dignity, serenity, exactness of playing, well-groomed ornamenting, his use of a tastefully light inégal phrasing, his knowledge of dance tempi, the beautiful sonority of his 10-course bass lute, his energetic playing, and, above all, the excellent initiative of this almost complete Vallet!Pascale Boquet in: Le joueur de Luth (Société Francaise de Luth), December 2013


Top quality, this unique double-cd by Willem Mook c.s.. Musical interpretation, recording, design, adjoined commentary: everything is extremely well cared for. ...
For the first time we get a complete impression of this French Amsterdammer [Vallet]. The well-known melodies of the psalms are subtily eloborated upon with a virtuosic, often surprising part for the lute. Music for true music lovers ...Jack Scholten in: De Tabulatuur (Magazine of the Dutch Lute Society), December 2013



Willem Mook is the driving force behind this double CD and accounts for the compositions for solo lute. We hear five outstanding singers from the Netherlands Chamber Choir and three more lutenists. ... Truely a wonderful and excellently documentated production, that deserves to generate international attention.Marcel Bijlo in: Tijdschrift voor Oude Muziek, November 2013


Both CDs are presented in a beautifully designed digipack.
The pieces for lute quartet [are] played very brightly and lively. ... This double CD [is] recommended to the readers acquisition and enjoyment. Joachim Lüdtke in: Lauten-Info (Deutsche Lauten Gesellschaft), December 2013


Having proved himself outstanding in accompaniment on CD1, ... Willem Mook shows his qualities as a soloist [on CD2]. It all sounds pleasant, natural and highly supple. ... The festive dance music for four lutes form a powerful conclusion to this unique double-CD!Annette Kruisbrink, in: El Maestro (EGTA), November 2013



Vallet's imagination takes flight and Mook responds with playing which is technically impressive and musically convincing. ... The sound of the lute quartet is dilightfully entertaining. This double CD is a fascinating window into very rich and rewarding repertoire, the soundtrack to a world much more familiar to us through its visual art, but which unsurprisingly is of a similarly superlative quality. James Ross, in: Early Music Review, November 2013


The playing and singing is fine and well got-up, ... the concluding compositions for four lutes provide a delightful finale.Frits van der Waa, in: de Volkskrant 16 oktober 2013

Music for four lutes: ... a wonderful piece of work ...
"The CD is not only a resounding homage to Vallet - it is just as much proof of the high level of the performing musicians: Willem Mook, his lute quartet and the vocalists."
"The biggest surprise of all on this set of CDs is in the conclusion: a number of works for lute quartet. An instrumental combination ..., that sounds very harmonious indeed." Roel Sikkema, in: Nederlands Dagblad, 27 september 2013

Early Music Festival 1 september 2013: Nicolas Vallet Lute Quartet and Kaspar Kroener, Harry van Berne and Jasper Schweppe:
"The voices singing the tenor line sounded miraculously wonderful and pure, and organically one with the plucked soundscape of the lute. This too can be addictive!"
"The compositions for lute quartet are well worth mentioning as well. Nothing is more critical than combining plucked instruments. As far as the tuning and the precision is concerned - and than four lutes at that! ... Chapeau. I would have loved to hear more of that." Marijke Ferguson, in: weblog Concertzender, 6 september 2013

on various performances

Quadrivium: Flemish-Spanish programme - sparkling early and contemporary music:
The audience is lifted - not only by the music as such, but by the musicians in person, their performance being serene, subtle, balanced, lively, exuberant, subdued, pure, and harmonious.
[For this programme] Biesemans composed a jeweled necklace, which, in a seldomly heard harmony, fits with the early repertoire. (...) This is truly making early and contemporary music flow together in a glorifying and respectful coherence. Biesemans is a true and worthy heir of the other Flemish masters in the program ...Ludwig Van Mechelen on users.telenet.be/klassiekcentraal/rubriek/recensie.htm#quvlsp, 1 February 2011


Willem Mook gave the public concert [for the lute-building summer school, Norwich 2010]. … A capacity audience and superb, thoughtful playing, which took you into the heart of the music. It was a fitting high point of a memorable week.David van Edwards in Journal of The Lute Society #95, October 2010


With her clear and expressive soprano timbre, Annegret Kleindopf moved the hearts of the many visitors …, who, deeply affected, waited a while, before they treated the ensemble Voix et Cordes with a loud and sustained applause, … excellent programme, …admirable solo performances by the instrumentalists … Anastasia Vollmer in Neckar-Cronik, 30 augustus 2010

…a wonderful effect of connecting the beautiful acoustic and visual elements to lute, song and setting.
Michael Schreiner in Quarterly of the American Lute Society, Spring 2009


"La cause est amer": a gourmet program … moving, and often astonishingly virtuosic… deeply poetic.
Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant

Quadrivium: the charm of medieval simplicity … passionate music making.
Brabants Nieuwsblad

A choice from the CD [Proba me Deus] … that did impress me very much. I was no less moved by this live performance!
Joachim Lüdtke in Journal of the Deutsche Lautengesellschaft, 2009, nr.1


Willem Mook presented a beautiful concert [with tenor Harry van Berne] around Huygens with a well constructed simultaneous projection of illustrations, song texts and tablatures …
Padrig Kernoa in Le_Luth groupe, February 2009


Accompanied by the delightfully smooth soprano Paulien van der Werff and the rich readings of Peter Adema in both English and the rhyming Dutch, Willem Mook's superbly talented lute was the perfect introduction to the early Baroque era of music that is rarely heard in Zimbabwe. Hopefully this talented trio will be back!
Andy Roberts in HIFA Festival News, April 2008
Annegret Kleindopf phrased wonderfully well, while excelling in perfect dynamic variation. Willem Mook's refined luteplaying contrasted fast passages with soothing sonorities and joyous sounds.
Christina Köhler in Main-Echo, November 2007
Lutenist Willem Mook and violplayer Susanne Seitz furnished their singer Annegret Kleindopf with an admirably flexible fundament of filigree tones, chords and harmonies.
Rainer Lange in Fränkische Nachrichten, November 2007
Beautifully wrought lute solos ..., the virtuosity amazing the listeners.
Westfälische Rundschau, Juli 2007
Willem Mook clearly enjoyed presenting his nimble finger technique.
Joachim Buch in Allgäuer Zeitung, Juli 2007

Willem Mook demonstrates stunning skill as a lutenist.
James Ross in Newsletter of the Early Music Forum of Scotland, oktober 2006


The framing lute repertoire was remarkably beautiful, forming a seamless unity with the chosen poetry. Willem Mook proved himself an artist pur sang, his breathing play being subtle in sound, touch and dynamics. Technical perfection and intense musicality (…)
Devoid of any straining after effect, Peter Adema captivated the audience with his refined expression (…) excellent timing and dosing of pitch in word and phrasing.
Johan G. Koers in Heerenveense Courant, 30 oktober 2006

Master lutenist Willem Mook is not only an expert accompanist, he makes his lute sing.
Kees Huges in Haarlems Dagblad, October2001
Paulien van der Werff recites with great intensity, supported by a beautifully differentiated accompaniment by Willem Mook.
Rinus Groot in Haarlems Dagblad, September 2000

on the album 'La cause est amer' (Quadrivium)

Thanks to the thematic setup and the unique combination of medieval and contemporary music, this is a highly interesting production.
We should be glad that [in the world of luteplaying] we have a rare opportunity to listen to some newly conceived music; the combination with the early repertoire works wonderfully well. In my opinion this is due to the used instrumentarium, which produces a colourful variety of sounds.
Jack Scholten in De Tabulatuur 98, January 2010


… all done with great freshness and very convincing.
When Biesemans writes, every note is there for a good musical reason. The Waka pieces … are given a richness of invention I've not heard in Japanese source music … No idea what the Japanese might make of it, but it pleased me greatly.
When Willem Mook gets a chance to show what he can do on a solo, it's delightful.
I love this record, and recommend it highly.
Meic Goodyear in Lute News 91, October 2009

Marvellous … those who love beautiful music must have this CD.
Ludwig van Mechelen in Klassiek Centraal, 15 September 2009

La cause est amer, but the result is of great delicacy and exquisite poetry …
… The Japanese pieces [of Biesemans'] are superbly instrumented …, the structure well thought out and present all along the recording. The beautiful sequence of pieces does not hinder the contrasts. … The great range of the voice evokes the clair-obscur of the lyrics. One relishes in the beautiful sound of Willem Mook's lute, in his phrasing, his nuances, his zen-like calmness and respiration.
Pascale Boquet in Bulletin de la Société Francaise de Luth, June 2009

This is exquisite, moving music, while being surprisingly accessible at the same time.
De tabulatuur – tijdschrift van de Nederlandse Luitvereniging 85, May 2009

This programming …is certainly original. Janpieter Biesemans is strongly inspired by traditional Japanese music and this contributes to a pleasant change and varietyr
Marcel Bijlo in Tijdschrift voor Oude Muziek, 2009, nr.3

… medieval love songs that reflect the emotions evoked by the preceding waka. What a wonderful idea for a programme!
Biesemans’ compositions are clearly inspired by Japanese music … and are well suited to the sound of a medieval ensemble.
David van Ooijen in Newsletter of the Lute & Early Guitar Society of Japan, April 2009


Kattenberg Recordings is enrichment for the audio world.
Fred Brouwers, in Clara - Flemish classical broadcast, March 2009  

on the album 'Proba me Deus' (Huygens)

The performances are polished, often sensitive, extremely pleasant, and deliberately unspectacular.
A lot of thought went into preparing, performing and explaining this program, which is an intriguing window on the early seventeenth century. ... the 68-page booklet alone, packed with information, may be worth the price of admission.Howard Posner in Lute Society of America Quarterly, September 2007

This new CD is beautifully presented with a generous CD booklet. The performances are technically very good throughout, (…) genuinely affecting songs.
Making this CD was clearly a labour of love, and well worth all the effort that went into it.
Chris Goodwin in Journal of The Lute Society 81, April 2007


This disc will ever again play itself on my CD player. It belongs on every table of gifts, also when after Christmas! 
Joachim Lüdtke in Journal of the Deutsche Lautengesellschaft, December 2006, nr.4

These pearls from the Baroque era are excellently performed by three musicians, who in their authentic approach do not shy from showing their personal passion.
Henriëtte Posthuma de Boer in De Liedvriend, 2006 nr.4


In duets the voices of Harry van Berne and Jasper Schweppe color together wonderfully well. A most beautiful album; the well-balanced alternation of vocal and instrumental works render it ever captivating.
René de Cocq in Luister, September 2006

The tenor’s voice is easy, natural, the diction soft and clear, the phrasing well articulated. The lute accompaniment respects and perfectly matches the singer’s phrases; the playing is pure with a warm sonority, the gut strings being beneficial to this quality of sound…
Pascale Boquet in Bulletin de la Société Francaise de Luth, September 2006

Tenor Harry van Berne and baritone Jasper Schweppe are the ideal singers for this repertoire. With his flexible and vibrant voice Schweppe reminds of Max van Egmond in his best years. A top-CD.
Marcel Bijlo in Tijdschrift voor Oude Muziek, August 2006

I can recommend this CD and its booklet as a perfect introduction to the musical world of Constantine Huygens, beautifully sung and excellently played.
David van Ooijen in Newsletter of the Lute & Early Guitar Society of Japan, July 2006


The repertoire for solo lute tastefully introduces the subsequent songs (…) pearls on their own accord. The sound of the gut-strung lute is sublime …
Frits Sandkuijl in De tabulatuur – tijdschrift van de Nederlandse Luitvereniging 85, June 2006
newly released:

2-CD "Resveillez vous - Nicolas Vallet: psalms and music for lute"

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Ensemble Quadrivium:
CD "La cause est amer -
Medieval Love Poems from Japan
and the Low Countries "

more information ...

 

 

CD "Proba me Deus - music by Constantine Huygens and contemporaries "

with Harry van Berne (tenor) and Jasper Schweppe (baritone)

more information ...

 

 

 
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