Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Boccherini, Ensemble 415, Banchini|
Quintets Op 60 #1 & #5 / Op 62 #1
Autumn leaves falling...
Jonathan J. Casey | the twin cities | 05/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For a work in C major, the initial theme of the first Op. 60 quintet is especially haunting and strange. As it turns out the source of this tune is a lullaby from Madrid. In the hands of this old master, though, who faced poverty and poor health by the time of these works (circa 1801), the lullaby feels like a funeral dirge (anticipating Mahler's first symphony by 87 years). The entire first movement feels very agitated, which was off putting the first few times I listened to this CD, but it has since grown on me. This is not the flowery Boccherini of early years, instead we find the music of an increasingly broken man. The cello does not even make a significant solo contribution until the third (and final) movement of the first quintet. Often it is the first viola which leads these works, lending an increased sense of the autumnal. Pathos rules but does not bog down these works, and the second quintet in C major is a bit more spirited. Boccherini was trying to gain favor with Lucien Bonaparte (Napoleon's brother and French ambassador to Madrid) with this set of works, so there are attempts to cater to a less anguished sensibility, but it is hard not to notice a certain sense of defeat laced throughout. This is a very good recording, and the period-instrument group Ensemble 415 (led by Chiara Banchini) plays well as always. Boccherini is an underappreciated master of the classical form, and this CD provides an excellent glimpse into that lost world. FYI: Enrico Gatti has recorded Boccherini's accompanied fortepiano sonatas (Op. 5) on the Tactus label, and Ensemble 415 has a number of other excellent Boccherini recordings available on Harmonia Mundi, including four symphonies, the Stabat Mater, and the quintets with contrabass (plus an out-of-print recording of sextets)."