Airs and Dances of Shakespeare's Time
This territory has already been explored many times but it is a rich one, wide open to further well conducted safaris, and perhaps more mellifluous than if the Elizabeth had been II instead of I. The programme contains numerous familiar titles but as is the happy way of this repertory, most are dressed in fresh finery—to which consort music lends itself so well; how refreshing to hear the friendly comb-and-papering of the crumhorn as early as track one, the first of Anthony Holborne's six contributions. The consort as a whole plays with enthusiasm and its members are of commendable competence, but with a 'front-line' consisting solely of wind instruments (four are recorders) its variety of sound is limited; a violin or treble viol and/or some enterprising division playing by a lutenist would have added to the variety of effect.
Musica Antiqua (from neither London nor Cologne) is new to me, a French band that, despite the presence of a resident lutenist (Michel Foussard), here avails itself of the services of the ubiquitous Stephen Stubbs; he, presumably, is responsible for the sympathetic and crisply played accompaniments to the lute songs, and certainly for the only solo item, Pilkington's divisions on Go from my window. Naglein Blumen, better known to lutenists simply as an Alman, is given as a consort item. John Elwes, the other import from the UK sings his texts as though he means every word of them. It is a pleasant record, to which I'll give seven out of ten.'