Notes and Editorial Reviews
I sometimes worry about the fate of Boccherini's music. In this puritanical era when political correctness is directed against so many of life's pleasures, paranoia suggests that it's only a matter of time before the thought police get around to deciding that music that feels so good, that brings so much carefree pleasure, is bad for you. It must be admitted that these two-cello string quintets are a hedonist's delight, that extended listening can result in a compulsive urge to strengthen the frequency or the dosage, and that listening to Boccherini can result in second-hand addiction effects on passing innocents. It also offers respite from the nightly news, election campaigns, and other worthy
activities, thus becoming an obstacle to good citizenship. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence suggests that Boccherini's music, especially the quintets on this disc by the Vanbrugh Quartet and guest cellist Richard Lester, can renew spirits and enhance the positive outlook said to be essential for long life.
But lest anyone assume that it's all whipped cream, be advised that these quintets bristle with inventive surprises such as the violin riffs in the first movement of the C major Quintet G. 310, or passages like the same work's Grave that reach supreme levels of elegant intimacy. All four of the works here include melodies--many of them dance-based or operatic in their dramatic grandeur--that once heard are stamped forever in your memory. There's often depth beneath the surface gracefulness, as in the opening Andante con moto of the C major Quintet G. 349, where nostalgia contends with drama, or in the opening Andante affetuoso of the little (two-movement) B minor Quintet G. 350. Lead cellist Lester and the Vanbrugh Quartet play with confident verve, and they're blessed with the kind of engineering that creates the illusion that the musicians are in your listening room with you. This is the ensemble's second disc of Boccherini's cello quintets; the first is on Hyperion 67287. Get them both. Now! [11/29/2003]
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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