Boccherini was the last and possibly the finest blossom on a tradition of string composers which began with Corelli; but he remains strictly within the bounds of that tradition. Although younger than Haydn the dynamic possibilities of sonata form hardly seem to have occurred to him. Occasionally, it is true, he will plunge into the unexpected with a boldness which must have disconcerted contemporary listeners; but for the most part few currents of dark emotion underlie the highly wrought surface of his music, apart from that suggestion of large-eyed Tuscan melancholy which never quite deserted him even in Spain and Germany. He avoids extremes of tempo, just as he avoids great contrasts in his thematic material.
It is a fairlyRead more safe guess that any single disc of Boccherini's will contain the Quintet with the famous minuet, as a sprat to catch the discophile mackerel; and so it proves here, as also in an issue that I reviewed last September, with a group led by Alexander Schneider (Philips mono GL586 I stereo SGL5861). Of the two performances I much prefer this newer version. The playing is much more straight forward without being in any way less expressive, and a far better blend seems to have been achieved. The only serious fault is an excess of resonance—particularly bass resonance—which becomes all too noticeable in passages where the two 'cellos have rapid figuration. The effect is not so much blurred (Boccherini's harmonies do not change rapidly enough for that) as fussy and restless. In the A minor Quintet, which has an extra viola instead of an extra 'cello the problem is far less acute; and there is something magical about the way the long reverberation carries the pianissimi into the far distance, as in the trio of the minuet. Generally speaking the sound is as sumptuous as one could wish and the record should do much to further the cause of one of those composers who may not stand in the front rank but whose music we should all be the poorer without.
-- Gramophone [5/1967] reviewing the original LP release of Op. 13 no 5 and Op. 47 no 1 Read less
Very enjoyable!November 12, 2015By gwen t. (Culver City, CA)See All My Reviews"I am a late-comer to Boccherini; I'm so glad that I found (!) him. I am always amazed at how "modern" his music sounds even though he was a contemporary of Mozart and Haydn. I enjoy the fact that there are not the mannerisms and conventions of the German composers (even though I love their music, too) - somehow the music seems fresher and more accessible. Not being an expert in Boccherini, all I can say is that I really enjoyed this CD and have played in countless times."Report Abuse