"Terpsichore" - Dance Music of the Renaissance and Early Baroque. Performed by Konrad Ragossnig, lute, and the Ulsamer Collegium, directed by Josef Ulsamer. Recorded at the Colosseum in Nuremberg, Germany in 1971 and at the Würzburg Conservatory, Germany, in 1973. This digitally re-mastered version released in 1985 as Deutsche Grammophon Archiv 415 294-2. Playing time: 20'57" (Renaissance Dances) and 42'53" (Early Baroque Dances) = 63'50".
This timeless classic has introduced many people to the sounds of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries and been instrumental in launching the success of the early music movement. Although it only contains a small selection of Praetorius's "Terpsichore" (but a lot of other material besides) and although some of its interpretative decisions sound a little dated in comparison with newer, historically informed versions, this is simply THE classic disc with which to start on the adventure of early music. It was one of the first early music CDs I bought myself - and now I have hundreds! Ulsamer and friends play a wide selection of early instruments: lute, gamba, recorder, regal, fiddle, crumhorn, shawms, bagpipes and an assortment of percussion instruments, and the documentation allows you to follow which instrument is being played when, thus giving a taste of the sound of each. The CD begins with the "Lamento di Tristano" with its quiet sadness and takes the listener through just about every renaissance and baroque mood until it arrives at Track 43, Haussmann's "Carkanei" with its rollicking cock-a-doodle-doo sounds. I can't recommend this highly enough, and only wish to add that despite its age, the DG Archiv sound is excellent.
For those who already know this disc, the next step is to go on to Philipp Pickett's recording of "Terpsichore" (Praetorius: Dances from Terpsichore) and/or to the three recordings by the Swedish early music troupe Joculatores Upsalienses: "Early Music at Wik Castle" Joculatores Upsalienses: Early Music at Wik, "The Four Seasons" The Four Seasons and "Woods, Women and Wine"Skogen, Flickan och Flaskan. All these discs have the added advantage of having a pictorial guide to early instruments printed in the booklet.