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.
Just wonderfulDecember 19, 2015By D. Ellis (San Diego, CA)See All My Reviews"This is a wonderful album. So light, airy. The third piece was played in Master and Commander and I loved it in the movie and always wanted to hear it in full and now I can, whenever I want. Thanks KUSC and Arkiv"Report Abuse
I love this one!July 25, 2015By gwen t. (Culver City, CA)See All My Reviews"I love this recording of La Musica Notturna. I have the Karajan recording of it, too, but I actually prefer this one. It seems more "authentic" and personal. I am amazed that Boccherini was a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, and yet his music sounds more "modern" in many ways than theirs."Report Abuse
Cheap packagingApril 7, 2015By David S. (Round Rock, TX)See All My Reviews"CD jewel cases can't cost that much. How come we can't get that? I do not like cardboard CD packaging. Maybe this could be listed in the description of the music."Report Abuse