Notes and Editorial Reviews
Boccherini is scarcely known as a keyboard composer, and in fact there is some doubt as to whether the work here is actually his; it is not mentioned in his own catalogue and survives only in a set of parts bearing an attribution. It could in fact be authentic: for although the musical content lacks the usual Boccherinian warmth—and the finale, a set of variations, is often routine and mechanical—much of the detailed figuration is a fair pianistic counterpart to his familiar string style. And the C minor slow movement, if much of its invention consists of clichés, has a certain delicacy of line. Boccherini or no, it makes quite pleasant listening until the variations pall; and the pianist Eckart Sellheim, using an 1804 Broadwood,
plays it with some refinement and gentle brilliance.
The Field piece, played on the same instrument, clearly belongs to a different era: in this version, with strings, it was published in St Petersburg in 1812 (the 'Boccherini' is probably from the late 1760s). It is an entertaining piece, essentially salon music, almost rumbustious at times, but with hints too of romantic poetry. The rondo theme itself is elaborated on each recurrence, ingeniously and with a good deal of virtuosity.
But I found the Schobert Concerto the most interesting of the works presented here. Again, there is a certain amount of galant cliché, but the music has shapeliness and logic, and the sound of the piano passagework (on a South German instrument of 1796) interweaving with the orchestra, softened by the use of flutes rather than oboes, is attractive. The minor-key slow movement—Sellheim, who writes the sleeve-note, wonders if Beethoven knew it when writing his Fourth Concerto—has some unisons in the orchestra and dialogue with the piano, in which the solo line is often elaborated in the 'sentimental' style typical of its time, the 1760s: with some sweet, soft piano tone, the effect is charming and indeed eloquent. The Concerto ends with a lively minuet. Sellheim's playing is neat and stylish, the Collegium Aureum play smoothly on their period instruments, and the CD sound is clear and well balanced.
-- Gramophone [3/1987]
reviewing the original LP release, DHM 47527
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