DuFay Collective are, in a word, brilliant, basically the Pink Martini of the music of the period. Their music never fails to transport you back in time. However, for the most past, medieval music isn't something you plug into the CD player on long drives between cities. This album is an exception. The focus is on medieval dance music of France, England and Italy, and the pieces are light-hearted and "catchy" enough to keep me entertained on replay for hours at a time.
ACRONYM's release is the first recording devoted entirely to the instrumental music of Giovanni Valentini (1582/3-1649), who for more than twenty years was Hofkapellmeister of the Holy Roman Empire before fading into obscurity. Oddities & Trifles pairs selections from Valentini's published 1609 canzonas with nearly all of his extant manuscript sonatas (many of them containing strange chromaticism and metric eccentricities), and it consists almost entirely of premiere recordings.
In his publications, Luzzasco Luzzaschi (c. 1545-1607) presents himself, rather modestly as the Organist of the Serene Highness Duke of Ferrara. Accordingly, Luzzaschis reputation today is similarly modest; he is known, if at all, thanks only to the music he composed for the Concerto delle Dame an ensemble of virtuoso female singers at the dEste court in Ferrara. And yet, when his entire oeuvre is explored, one discovers that his music and influence are greater than could have been imagined. In fact, Luzzaschi was both musically and historically one of the central musical figures of the late Renaissance. This recording presents a broad picture of Luzzaschis oeuvre, selecting works in various genres, performed in historically informed settings with appropriate performance practices. While pieces for the Concerto delle Dame are included, one of the intentions of Profeti della Quinta is to highlight the fact that the rest of Luzzaschis output stands equally alongside these compositions.