These frottole were written for four singers, or a soloist and lute or group of instruments taking the place of the other voices. In this recording, the instruments selected for each song (and even verse) are well-chosen, such as the cornet for the lively "Hor ho venduto la speranza," or violas da gamba for the mournful "O mia cieca e dura sorte," though sometimes the violas, especially when used en masse, sound slightly heavy-handed compared to the lute. While often the ensemble adds ornamentation that was not included in the original manuscripts, the available information about performance practices indicates that this is an appropriate practice, possibly even more authentic than performances that follow the manuscripts more rigidly. The percussion, traditional Egyptian and Iranian instruments, is particularly well applied (perhaps even as a subtle joke in "Oime il cor oime la testa" ["Alas, my heart, alas, my head"]).
Invernizzi has a clear, sweet-toned voice, a delicate touch, and excellent diction, all requirements for this repertoire, though her highly audible breathing is sometimes obtrusive. The tempi, especially for the more doleful material, are often on the slow side, compared to those on other recordings, but not excruciatingly so. While the violas, as mentioned above, can become heavy, the lute solos are beautifully light and precise.
There are relatively few other frottole recordings available. Fortunately, this recording does not duplicate more than a few of those, and even if it did, the renditions are different enough that the overlaps complement one another.
The packaging includes extensive notes on the Este court and the history of the frottola genre in Italian, English, and French, the Italian texts, and French and English translations. Especially for the instrumental solos, the sound is close and sonorous.