Everything about each AliaVox album – whether SACD or standard CD – is so artfully done that one is predisposed to totally support any of the music presented therein. (I must make one little correction though: The back of the package has only the Stereo logo for hybrid SACD, but this disc is definitely multichannel, with a superb impression of the voluminous space of the church in Ainse, France, where the recording was made.) The booklet – in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish – is illustrated and very helpful in a deeper appreciation of the music.
I have to admit even with the perfection of presentation much of the AliaVox catalog interests me less due to my not being heavily into vocal music or early music. However, this one adds so much – in the way of sprightly performance, you-are-there sonics and fascinating lines notes – to these not-unfamiliar Boccherini instrumental works that I find it due the above five stars. I recall hearing the Night Music in Madrid for the first time many years ago on a Musical Heritage Society LP which I still have. Not only does the fidelity pale next to the AliaVox disc but the performers of old sound lethargic next to Savall’s on-the-ball musicians.
Boccherini was prophetic in programmatic works of this type, almost stepping into the Romantic movement way ahead of time. Structurally the work is a real oddity, with its seven short movements – some running as little as 28 seconds. Another aspect of Boccherini’s music was shared with that of Italian countryman Domenico Scarlatti: that of infusing Spanish and gypsy folk music elements into the strict structures and styles of Baroque music. Such can also be heard in the Fandango, which Boccherini pieced together from two of his earlier cello quintets and added the very lively sound of castanets in the lengthy final movement.
– John Sunier