This disc, excellently recorded in the late 1980's, presents a generous selection of the French dance music collected and published by Praetorius in 1612. There were further collections to be centred on English, Italian and German dances but these never materialised. The music itself was a collection of dances 'communicated' to Praetorius by Antoine Emeraud, the dancing master to the Duke of Brunswick who asked for them to be arranged in 4-5 parts.
Praetorius went further than that and also supplied comprehensive instructions on how they were to be played and also supplied plates of detailed illustrations showing the range of instruments available. This information is the basis for decisions made when making this recording.
The result is a comprehensive survey of the sounds available in 1612 made by a wide range of stringed instruments including the viol family, harps, lutes, theorbo and hurdy-gurdy. Brass include Sackbuts, natural trumpets and the hybrid cornett. Woodwind include recorders, flutes, crumhorns, shawms, racketts. Other instruments range across various percussion plus organ, regal and harpsichord.
The players are specialists in the period and play with enthusiasm and accuracy under the knowledgeable direction of Philip Picket.
I would suggest that this disc has few, if any, competitors in the chosen field presented with this level of expertise and sheer enjoyment. This disc therefore warrants the most serious consideration from any prospective purchaser interested in the period.