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Samuel Scheidt, Ludi Musici (excerpts), Les Sacqueboutiers (released on October 31, 2006)
The Toulouse-based historically informed performance wind ensemble Les Sacqueboutiers has here recorded just over half of the pieces in what remains of the collection (17 of 32). Most of the instruments you hear are cornetti and sackbuts (one of the ancestors of the trombone, from which the group takes their name, from the word for a player of this instrument). Other sounds come from an organ, theorbo, and occasional percussion for the dance pieces. The members of the group have played with many of the leading HIP groups, and they play masterfully. For specialists this short disc (55:08) may not be able to compete against complete recordings of the Ludi Musici, like that released by Musica Fiata earlier this year on CPO, although that was a mixed-instrument ensemble. Scheidt left few instrumentation specifications with this music, meaning that a performance requires many decisions and much adaptation for whatever forces one chooses. The joyous, plaintive, evocative readings by Les Sacqueboutiers bring some much-needed life to this music. One hopes that they will record the remaining pieces for a second disc in the future.