Notes and Editorial Reviews
HYPERION 67646 (69:07)
For someone like myself, who is an inveterate Boccherini-hater, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with this disc. The music is typical Boccherini, charming and with a certain amount of energy, though scarcely innovative or memorable, but the performances by Auser Musici flow beautifully. They have both inner energy and a smile.
One thing I found interesting
was that, considering these are flute quintets, the flute is almost never the lead instrument. Rather, Boccherini scores it as an “extra” voice in ensemble, mostly filling in the harmony. Apparently he had no King Frederick the Great to write for, as did Quantz and C. P. E. Bach, but used the flute as a coloristic instrument as he did in his symphonies. These performances are also based on reproductions of the autograph scores, in which there are occasional thorough-bass figures in the cello line, which calls for the cellist to play double-stopped chords. This certainly adds an element of difficulty to music that is otherwise fairly straightforward to play, but I commend them on going back to the manuscripts.
I was particularly taken by the G-Minor Quintet (No. 2), in which the energy of the rhythm in the first movement is often complemented by a pervading feeling of sadness, quite an unusual departure for Boccherini. In addition, there are very dramatic transition passages that almost give it the feeling of a chamber symphony rather than a quintet. And in the Quintets in C (No. 3) and D (No. 4), both of which surprisingly start with slow movements, there are standout passages for solo cello—Boccherini’s own instrument—which certainly pulls the focus away from the flute and puts it on the cello, though Quintet No. 3 struck me as the least musically interesting of the set. It should also be noted that these performances are given at the pitch of A= 430, a little low even for that time but still within reasonable range. Three of the six sonatas (4–6), given on Claves 2202 by flutist Béatrice Jaermann and the Sine Nomine Quartet, are equally well played, but this is the only set of all the op. 19 quintets currently available.
I really liked this disc! Shocked, huh? So was I.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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