Haydn's Wife, Indeed!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's what they sometimes called poor Boccherini in his own day. But, hey, they said worse of Beethoven, and both could cry all the way to immortality. There is some truth to the invidious comparison, though: Like the Haydn of Esterhazy, Boccherini worked in a cultural backwater (Spain), and so, untrammeled by what was happening in the great music centers of Europe, the Italian master created his own solutions to the problem of the symphony. The result may not be the capstones of the 18th-century symphonic tradition, but many of Boccherini's symphonies are stylish, highly individual, and very memorable. The four on this disk are a case in point, with the unique, concertante-style writing Boccherini imparts to the slow movements and minuets. I especially like "Symphony No. 24," whose high-spirited finale features some wonderful writing for the horns.The horns, and all the players, that Pople leads are in virtuoso form, and as usual in late 17th- and early 18th-century music, the conductor is exemplary. Hyperion's typically fine sonics (intimate and impactive here) make this an especially desirable release."
Very enjoyable and well-written symphonies
Daniel R. Greenfield | Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | 09/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As you can see from some of the other reviews of this album, Amazon has mixed up this album with some other works. That's par for the course; poor Luigi never did get the recognition he deserved. I suppose, as one other reviewer has inferred, he was a second-rate Haydn. Probably, Boccherini, good-natured soul that he was, would have accepted that as a complement. Having lived in Madrid, Spain for the last thirty-five years of his life, his late baroque music is infused with lively Spanish folk idioms and a sense of good-naturedness befitting a milder climate. This is the second album of Boccherini symphonies that Hyperion has released, and the recording quality is of Hyperion's usual very high standards. As the album notes state, these symphonies have delightful little melodic and harmonic surprises hidden in them at every turn. In fact, the sense of delight is scattered liberally through these symphonies. They make superlative background music to entertain while driving or just working around the house. They are not, however, pieces of music that you are going to want to sit down and really concentrate on listening to as you would some music by Beethoven. Neverthess, they are truly enjoyable works, guaranteed to lift your spirits and brighten your day."