I had to think about this for a while before buying it, but I'm glad I succumbed and got it, because the music is all totally delightful in its own way. The cd offers the music of many composers from between 1558 and 1603 (the years of Queen Elizabeth I's reign). The composers include the old perennial Anonymous, as well as Innocentio Alberti (c.1535-1615), Nicholas Strogers (fl. 1560-75), Clement Woodcock (fl. c.1575), Robert White (c.1535-1574), John Taverner (1490-1545), William Daman (c.1540-1591), William Mundy (c.1529-1591) and Robert Parsons (c.1575-1623). The tracks are all relatively short at no more than 3:30 minutes, so there are 29 quite diverse tracks on the cd in all.
There are three main types of music represented here, to reflect those most commonly found in the Elizabethan consort repertory. The first is dance forms, including pavans and galliards. Much of the repertory of the time was derived in some way from vocal music - chansons and motets, as well as religious themes, represented here particularly by several In Nomine pieces. The third type is contrapuntal pieces written specifically for instruments. Music such as Woodcock's "Browning my dear" is a representative of this type of music.
The music is all played beautifully, as always, by Hesperion XX under Jordi Savall. You just can't go wrong with music that has been brought to you by Jordi Savall, and this cd is no exception - totally recommended.
I'm not sure why I like this type of music, perhaps it the way it tends to convey pure emotions: calm, fun, agitation, etc. This disc of Elizabethan consort music from, I would guess, the end of 16th C captures desperation in "Desperada", fun in "Gallyard" and the other dances, and regal presence in such tracks as "Ronda". I am not an expert in classical music, but Jordi Savall and the Hesperion XX are the best, and the recording quality is top. If you like 16th C music this must be no. 1 on you Christmas list.
I love this sort of music, but the tracks are somewhat samey, which is a bit disappointing. I ordered 2 to give as gifts so I hope the people who get them aren't of the same opinion! I'd have liked a bigger range of consort music.