Boccherini fans will be unable to conceal a twinge of disappointment that the selection of repertoire for this disc wasn't more adventurous; but on the other hand the Cuarteto Casals has put together the perfect disc of the composer's "greatest hits". You get the famous "Night Music of Madrid" quintet, the E major quintet with the most famous minuet in the entire 18th century (and it's very sexily played here), and the Guitar Quintet No. 6 with a particularly sizzling Fandango finale (kudos to the guest artists above for matching the string playing in dazzle and pizzaz). Only the String Quartet may be unfamiliar to most listeners, and its placement as the only minor-key work on the program is most welcome by way ofRead more contrast.
As already suggested, the performances are very fine. The Cuarteto Casals certainly ranks among the best young-ish quartets out there today. Like many modern ensembles, they have a tendency to coarsen their tone in the imitative episodes of the "Night Music" quintet (not so much in the Fandango), and there's a degree of exaggeration to the playing that sometimes works against the music's sensuality and sheer elegance. But better too much enthusiasm than too little, especially in Boccherini, who can all too easily sound like little more than a sugary sweet trifle. Certainly the players' sensitivity to the music's wonderful textures and sonorities is impressive.
Sonically, like so many HM chamber music productions, the engineering captures a bit more performance noise (heavy breathing, etc.) than I prefer, but the closeness never becomes oppressive, and it matches the immediacy of the playing. All in all, an excellent release.
Love itSeptember 20, 2014By Joanne C. (Cedar Grove, NJ)See All My Reviews"This is a wonderful CD. Boccherini has a variety of pieces on this CD - all very beautiful. It is a joy to listen."Report Abuse
Very unusualMay 23, 2013By Mary Lynn H. (San Antonio, TX)See All My Reviews"This is an fabulous CD. The music is wonderful -- I find it hard to believe that it is late 18th century. It has the feeling of a pastiche -- a little ancient and a little modern. This is delightful! The players make these quartets incredibly involving. Highest recommendation."Report Abuse
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