Composed between 1780 and 1790, the four works on this new recording—the famous guitar quintet with the fandango last movement (including castanets), two symphonies and the popular programmatic “quintettino” recreating a night in the streets of Madrid—illustrate the art of Boccherini, complete with exquisite concertante roles in the G.511 symphony.
Even better, it represents one of those all too rare occasions where Jordi Savall has been lured into recording more commercial fare, where we can hear the benefits in familiar repertoire of his intelligently informed and passionately expressed love of music combining to produce results that are as exhilarating as they are illuminating, La Musica Notturna in particular having a wonderful sense of texture and contrast that moves it far from the routine.
The sound throughout is magnificent, vividly natural and with a precise sense of space. The extensive program notes convey Boccherini’s life and his life in Madrid with authority and passion.
When I interviewed Savall a few years ago for a feature in Strings magazine, he told me that AliaVox had, since its founding in 1998, sold more than 900,000 units. “We depend on recordings like La Folia, Orchestra of the Sun King [music by Lully], Diáspora Sefardí and even unexpected things like Ninna Nanna (a CD of lullabies from five centuries), all of which have sold more than 70,000 copies each,” he said, “to support less commercial projects like the Consort Music of William Lawes, which has sold only 10,000 because it is more challenging and people have more difficulty hearing that it is great music.”
Whether this Boccherini turns out to be a Ninna Nanna or a William Lawes remains to be seen. Considering its irresistible charm and surfeit of memorable tunes, my bet is on the former.
– Laurence Vittes