... in order to recognize what an astoundingly fine 'collection' this is has been generously listed in the one previous review of it by "musica e". That's a complete list of the composers and compositions along with the performing ensembles. Hey, with French cheeses, baseball tickets, wild salmon, and bridge tolls all too expensive for the average citizen of the "richest nation on earth" these days, music is the only bargain left! And this set is a bargain which doesn't sacrifice one iota of quality.
If you've never heard of the composers Dufay, Ockeghem, Obrecht, De La Rue and company, chances are you'll never encounter this review. In fact, you really can't be proven to exist! But some of the ensembles may be unknown even to longtime "early music" devotees. "Diabolus in Musica", "Cappella Pratensis", and "Capilla Flamenca" are the three vocal ensembles represented by the most selections in the 8-CD set, and to my ears all three are absolutely top notch. So is "Piffaro", the instrumental ensemble that provides exciting secular timbres on disk seven. I already own three-quarters of these performances on individual CDs -- previous purchases amounting to a lot more than the price this box set -- but I'm ordering the whole set anyway, and I'll donate the duplicates to the library.
I've reviewed about half of the original individual CDs included in this set at one time or another. You can search for those old reviews if you crave more specifics; you'll find they're all five stars.
UPDATE on Halloween, Oct 31, while I listen to the howls and screeches of adult party-goers outside my window:
This 'treasure chest' arrived yesterday, and I've listened to most of it with the greatest of glee. There's more music that I don't already know in the set than I expected, and in performances by ensembles that I hadn't properly 'discovered' among the Flemish specialists, though Cappella Flamenca is represented by major selections on five of the eight CDs. The 'mix' of sacred and secular, (mass)ive and miniature, vocal and instrumental is quite entertaining and informative of the range of styles invented and perfected by the Flemings of the 14th and 15th Centuries, in effect the first 'international' musical movement and the base of the whole pyramid of European music ever since. The treasure chest comes with a solid little hard-covered book of essays about the composers and their musical practices, written by Jerome LeJeune.
I'm afraid my local library won't be getting anything from me after all; this set doesn't duplicate much of my collection, and it's a 'keeper' on all acounts.