L'Arpeggiata, a vocal-instrumental ensemble led by Austrian theorbist Christina Pluhar, specializes in the music of the 17th century as well as the popular dance music on which much of it drew. The combination has resulted in uncommonly lively performances of music by composers who have hitherto been neglected simply because nobody else has quite managed to bring them alive. L'Arpeggiata has gone on to make several acclaimed recordings for the major Virgin label, but the six albums collected on this compilation, recorded for the small Alpha label in France between 2000 and 2005, are equally good and are a bargain in this package. The Baroque works covered, by Kapsberger, Stefano Landi, and Emilio de' Cavalieri, have been better represented in music history books than on recordings, and each disc yields some gems. Even better is the disc entitled "La Tarantella," a sort of reflection on the history, philosophy, and meaning of that famous Italian folk dance, and the one called All' Improvviso, which approaches popular dances of the Baroque era in the spirit, although not the rhythm, of jazz. There's not a dull moment anywhere in the set, and the music played here can very easily be made dull. You can even get Alpha's remarkable original booklets in digital form, although they're not included in the box set, and the production values of the original recordings were uniformly strong. Highly recommended.