Aubrey (1626-97) was an antiquarian and bon vivant who took little time out from his partying to finish any of his projects. So someone else had to publish Brief Lives after his death. A random sampling of interesting personages, Lives is filled with gossipy anecdotes about the famous and not-so-famous—the sort of thing that makes for juicy conversation with one's drinking partners. If you want the lowdown on Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, et al.—here's the place to get it. The distinguished actor Brian Cox portrays Aubrey sitting with us before the hearth of an evening. He thus does a fine job of delivering the author's personality…Naxos's signature bridges of period music are, as usual, a definite plus.