DAVID BRYSON | Glossop Derbyshire England | 08/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a simply adorable record. A 'broken consort' is a group of instruments of different types, which would, I suppose, make four of the Brandenburg concertos broken consorts. Where the various composers have not been specific as regards the instruments to be used (in most cases here), Christopher Ball and his colleagues have used their imagination to great effect. They are helped by an admirably clear recording, and it is hard to imagine who is not going to like the sound of the bass cornamuse, crumhorns, kortholts, ducaine and octavina. If there is one sound that particularly pleased me it was probably the percussion section, but the entire ensemble is brilliant.
It's easy to imagine a number of contexts for this record. Just as straight listening it is delightful. It would make good background music for general purposes, and I happen to know that it can be particularly effective at certain stages of a party, although care is advised about when to play Holborne's 'Wanton'. I like the fact that the selection is made from an international field of late-16th and early-17th century composers, and one gets the impression that this was a period of history when music was in a joyful and extrovert phase throughout Europe. What the scholars make of it I don't know, not having asked them. The instruments are patently made by experts and played by experts, the performers' enjoyment is infectious, and until I find out more about the whole period that will do me very well indeed. Enjoy."
Flamingo | Cleveland | 10/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have heard many recordings of Praetorius dances over the years, and this is the best of them all. Too often, renaissance music is played in a sluggish, scholarly style that chokes the life out of it. But not here. These pieces are played with verve and passion, the way this dance music was meant to be played. Yet they also play with tight precision, a perfect balance of joy and discipline. This is the keeper. You will listen to this over and over."