LUIGI BOCCHERINI: Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet for Strings – Europa Galante/ Fabio Biondi – Virgin Classics

by | Aug 6, 2009 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

LUIGI BOCCHERINI: Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet for Strings – Europa Galante/ Fabio Biondi – Virgin Classics 50999 2121492 9 74:08 ***** [Dist. by EMI]:

Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) is not as well known a composer as he should be. A few works of his have become fairly well known but the bulk of his vast output remains relatively unperformed and unrecorded. Boccherini was born in Italy and much of his early music has that typical Italianate charm with the vocal qualities reminiscent of the opera. Later on in his life he moved to Spain where his music slowly became more complex. His later pieces sound increasingly melancholy, as if he greatly missed the home of his youth.

This wonderful CD features four chamber works composed between 1772 and 1792. The compositions have been skillfully selected to represent one from each genre of Trio, Quartet, Quintet and Sextet. We can hear the whole progression of Boccherini’s music: from the sunny disposition of his String Trio in D major Op. 14 No.4 written in 1772 to the dour Quintet in C minor Op. 45 No.1 with its use of two cellos which was composed in 1792 and has been unrecorded until this CD. The String Sextet in F minor Op. 23 composed in 1776 and the Quartet No. 56 in C minor Op.41 from 1788 round out the works on this disc.

Fabio Biondi and his period orchestra Europa Galante are one of the finest exponents of the Baroque and Classical eras in Italy. Playing on period instruments, they are never pedantic or doctrinaire in their approach to this music. They always perform with a unique combination of charm and slightly eccentric verve that makes every one of their recordings a joy to listen to. There is a wonderful rightness to these performances that makes this a disc that won’t gather dust on your shelf. The sound quality is deep and bright, giving the period strings a grittiness that is not too brittle, an unfortunate attribute of some less skillfully rendered recordings.

— Mike Birman

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