La Rossignol puts together an engaging collection of Renaissance secular music. If you’re a fan of early music, many of their selections will be familiar. There are dances from Tielman Susato’s 1551 “Danserye” and Michael Praetorius’ 1621 “Terpsichore.” The selections from Thoinot Arbeau, Adrian Le Roy and Pierre Phalèse are also found on many releases.

So what makes this collection different? The instrumental line up varies from track to track. A full ensemble, dominated by winds, is followed by another for lute and single percussion. A few of the selections even feature vocalists.

And of course, the performances of La Rossignol itself makes this an album worthy of attention. La Rossignol is not only concerned with renaissance music but renaissance dance as well. They perform in costume and strive for authenticity in dress, movement, and sound.

There’s a ragged quality to their playing that (to my ears) sounds perfectly convincing. This isn’t art music they’re performing — just tunes for an evening’s entertainment. The performances are loose but full of energy. It’s the kind of sound I like to think would get a 16th Century crowd out on the dance floor.

If you enjoy early music, I recommend adding All Piffaresca to your collection.

Alla Piffaresca
Mische del Rinascimento per alta e bassa capella
La Rossignol
III Millenio CDA 1046