I’ve been a fan of the Baltimore Consort since their first release in 1990. They consistently deliver excellent performances that balance historical accuracy with honest emotion.

The Food of Love is a collection of music most likely heard in the original productions of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s a mix of music referred to by the play or incidental music referenced by stage instructions.

The program groups the selections together by plays. The liner notes carefully document the connection between each selection and the play.

Several of these selections will be familiar to fans of early music. John Dowland, “King of Denmark’s Galliard” and “Tarleton’s Jig” appear in “Hamlet.” Thomas Morley’s “O Mystress Mine” is here, as well as selections from Thomas Playford’s “English Dancing Master.”

There are even two settings of “Greensleeves.” Also included are music by Anthony Holborne, Robert Johnson, and several anonymous composers.

As always, the Baltimore Consort varies its sound from track to track. As needed, the group forms duets, trios, quartets, and so on.

Soprano Danielle Svonavec also modifies her singing to fit the music’s context. Her pure, silvery tones sometimes acquire a little grit.

If you’re a fan of the Baltimore Consort (or any of its members), you’ll want to add this to your collection. If you’re not familiar with this remarkable group — or early music in general — The Food of Love provides an excellent introduction. Dig in.

The Baltimore Consort: The Food of Love
Songs, Dances, and Fancies for Shakespeare
Sonos Luminous