Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Mon, 22 Apr 2024 17:00:18 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Boccherini - Concertos pour violoncello; Symphonies (1989) Boccherini - Concertos pour violoncello; Symphonies (1989)

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Concerto Pour Violoncelle En Sol Majeur G 480
01 – Allegro
02 – Adagio
03 – Allegro

Sinfonia En Si Majeur G 497
04 – Allegro Spiritoso
05 – Andantino Con Moto
06 – Allegro Vivace Assai

Concerto Pour Violoncelle En Re Majeur G 483
07 – Allegro Maestoso
08 – Andante Lentarello
09 – Allegro E Con Moto

Sinfonia la Casa Del Diavolo En Re Mineur G 506
10 – Andante Sostenuto
11 – Andantino Con Moto
12 – Andante Sonstenuto

Anner Bylsma - cello
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Jean Lamon – director


Absolutely, totally, and utterly worth it, Anner Bylsma's performances of Boccherini's cello concertos and symphonies from 1989 have been the great period instrument recording of the works since they were released. That they went out of print can only be attributed to the ability of the global classical music buying public to consume more than a few hundred copies of the disc annually. And that they are back in print only as special imported editions can only be attributed to perceived limitations of the American classical music-buying public. As for the performances themselves, they are as close to definitive as it is possible to be: Bylsma is a superlative player with enormous strength and tremendous sensitivity and his performances are warm-hearted and wonderfully expressive performances with long, lyric lines and deep, rich sonorities. The accompaniment by Jeanne Lamon and Tafelmusik is clear, bright, and buoyant; the sound of Deutsche Harmonia Mundi's recording is clean, brilliant, and resonant; and the box that they've wrapped their reissue in is very attractive. ---James Leonard, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Thu, 05 Sep 2013 15:58:03 +0000
Boccherini - La Musica Notturna di Madrid & Guitar Quintet No. 9, IV. La Ritirata di Madrid Boccherini - La Musica Notturna di Madrid & Guitar Quintet No. 9, IV. La Ritirata di Madrid

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Quintet in C major, Op. 30 no 6/G 324 "”Musica notturna di Madrid”
1. Introduzione		0:42	
2. Minuetto		1:50
3. Largo assai, senza rigor di Battuta		2:35
4. Passacalle	2:50	
5. Ritirata		2:20

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan (Conductor)

Guitar Quintet No. 9, IV “ La Ritirata di Madrid”
6. Allegro maestoso assai	10:55
7. Andantino		4:14
8. Allegretto		7:01
9. Variazioni		6:31

Tatrai Quartet
Laszlo Szandrey-Karper (Guitar)


La Musica Notturna della Strade di Madrid is one of only two programmatic works Boccherini composed. It was not published until several years after his death in part because Boccherini told his publisher that, "The piece is absolutely useless, even ridiculous, outside Spain because the audience cannot hope to understand its significance nor the performers to play it as it should be played." Within Spain itself, during his lifetime, the work became quite famous in arrangements of it Boccherini made for piano quintet and also for string quartet and guitar, in which version it has perhaps become best known.

Boccherini actually provided the publisher with program notes. La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid, literally, the night music of the streets of Madrid, was an attempt to recreate what residents of the Spanish capital could expect to hear each night. First there was the Ave Maria of the main church, in which the instruments imitate the tolling of the church bell. Then comes the Minuet of the Blind Beggars to be roughly played peasante. The cellists are directed by Boccherini to take their cellos upon their knees and strum them, imitating a guitar. This is followed by another slow section, The Rosary, not to be played strictly in time. Then there is what Boccherini sarcastically termed the Passacaglia of the Street Singers, Los Manolos. These were lower class loudmouths vulgarly dressed. The movement is not a passacaglia but imitates the way Los Manolos sang, which the Spanish called passacalle and meaning to pass along the street, singing to amuse oneself. Last comes La Ritirata di Madrid (the retreat of the Military Night Watch of Madrid), which by itself, achieved a certain degree of notoriety. It imitates the coming and going of the Military Night Watch, bringing the curfew and closing down the streets. Boccherini wrote, "One must imagine sitting next to the window on a summer's night in a Madrid flat and that the band can only be heard in the far-off distance in some other part of the city, so at first it must be played quite softly. Slowly the music grows louder and louder until it is very loud, indicating the Night Watch are passing directly under the listener's window. Then gradually the volume decreases and again becomes faint as the band moves off down the street into the distance." ---


Boccherini's quintets for guitar and strings originally existed in two separate sets of six pieces. The first set exists in its entirety today, but unfortunately, only two of the second set have survived. Of the two remaining pieces, the Quintet No. 9 in C major, titled "La Ritirata di Madrid," was written late in the composer's career, probably around 1798. This piece stands out for its imaginative and pictorial fourth movement, which is based on Madrid, Boccherini's home during much of his life.

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Sat, 09 Jan 2010 13:21:54 +0000
Boccherini - The Guitar Quintets (Pepe Romero) [2001] Boccherini - The Guitar Quintets (Pepe Romero) [2001]

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1. Quintet No.1 for Guitar and Strings in D minor G.445 - 1. Allegro moderato
2. Quintet No.1 for Guitar and Strings in D minor G.445 - 2. Cantabile
3. Quintet No.1 for Guitar and Strings in D minor G.445 - 3. Minuetto
4. Quintet No.1 for Guitar and Strings in D minor G.445 - 4. Finale (Allegro assai)
5. Quintet No.3 for Guitar and Strings in B flat, G.447 - 1. Allegro moderato
6. Quintet No.3 for Guitar and Strings in B flat, G.447 - 2. Tempo di minuetto
7. Quintet No.3 for Guitar and Strings in B flat, G.447 - 3. Adagio Pepe Romero
8. Quintet No.3 for Guitar and Strings in B flat, G.447 - 4. Allegro
9. Quintet No.5 for Guitar and Strings in D - 1. Andantino pausato
10. Quintet No.5 for Guitar and Strings in D - 2. Minuetto (Allegro)
11. Quintet No.5 for Guitar and Strings in D - 3. Allegro giusto
12. Quintet No.5 for Guitar and Strings in D - 4. Andantino pausato con variazioni - Allegro giusto
13. Quintet No.7 for Guitar and Strings in E minor, G.451 - 1. Allegro moderato
14. Quintet No.7 for Guitar and Strings in E minor, G.451 - 2. Adagio
15. Quintet No.7 for Guitar and Strings in E minor, G.451 - 3. Minuetto
16. Quintet No.7 for Guitar and Strings in E minor, G.451 - 4. Allegretto

1. Quintet No.2 for Guitar and Strings in E, G.446 - 1. Maestoso assai
2. Quintet No.2 for Guitar and Strings in E, G.446 - 2. Adagio – Allegretto
3. Quintet No.2 for Guitar and Strings in E, G.446 - 3. Polacca (Tempo di minuetto)
4. Quintet No.4 for Guitar and Strings in D G.448 - "Fandango" - 1. Pastorale
5. Quintet No.4 for Guitar and Strings in D G.448 - "Fandango" - 2. Allegro maestoso
6. Quintet No.4 for Guitar and Strings in D G.448 - "Fandango" - 3. Grave assai - 4. Fandango
7. Quintet No.6 for Guitar and Strings in G, G.450 - 1. Allegro con vivacità
8. Quintet No.6 for Guitar and Strings in G, G.450 - 2. Andantino lento
9. Quintet No.6 for Guitar and Strings in G, G.450 - 3. Tempo di minuetto
10. Quintet No.6 for Guitar and Strings in G, G.450 - 4. Allegretto
11. Quintet No.9 for Guitar and Strings in C, G.453 -"La ritirata di Madrid" - 1. Allegro maestoso assai
12. Quintet No.9 for Guitar and Strings in C, G.453 -"La ritirata di Madrid" - 2. Andantino
13. Quintet No.9 for Guitar and Strings in C, G.453 -"La ritirata di Madrid" - 3. Allegretto
14. Quintet No.9 for Guitar and Strings in C, G.453 -"La ritirata di Madrid" - 4. La ritirata di Madrid

Pepe Romero - guitar
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble


Boccherini's Quintets for Guitar and Strings do not highlight the guitar as solo instrument in the way that better-known Baroque concerti frame and focus upon their respective solo instruments. Rather, the instrument insinuates itself into a company of strings and plays along with them, sometimes providing a steady background and occasionally emerging as a conventional soloist. Like a soccer player who becomes an NFL kicker, this unexpected entree of the guitar into an unfamiliar environment displays pleasing crossover skills and unanticipated potentialities.

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble gives a truly splendid performance. Boccherini writes for a vivacious violin, and he certainly finds his desideratum among this ensemble. Indeed, the violin is arguably more prominent in this music than the guitar. One does not finish a careful hearing of this performance astonished by Pepe Romero's technical virtuosity. Boccherini does not set this artist up for such an outcome. Rather, one concludes with admiration and gratitude for Romero's ability to sublimate certain soloist prerogatives and integrate himself fully into this string-ish company, where he plays with evident cameraderie.

The quality of the sounds produced by the Philips engineers is stunning, a word one strives not to use loosely. ¡Viva Romero and his tribe! Field goals and extra points, after all, win football games. ---David A. Baer,

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Tue, 22 Jun 2010 20:12:57 +0000
Boccherini - Vol. 2: Sonate per il Violincello e Basso (2018) Boccherini - Vol. 2: Sonate per il Violincello e Basso (2018)

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Sonata in Sol Maggiore, G.5
01 I. Largo
02 II. Allegro alla militare
03 III. Tempo di minuetto

Sonata in Do Minore, G.2
04 I. Adagio (Prima versione)
05 II. Allegro (Prima versione)
06 III. Allegretto (Prima versione)

Sonata in Fa Maggiore, G.1
07 I. Allegro
08 II. Adagio
09 III. Allegretto

Sonata in La Maggiore, G.13
10 I. Allegro
11 II. Largo
12 III. Allegro

Sonata in Si Bemolle Maggiore, G.12
13 I. Allegro moderato
14 II. Grave
15 III. Minuetto

Les Basses Réunies
Bruno Cocset - cello
Emmanuel Jacoues - cello continuo
Vaude Gratton - pianoforte
Bertrand Cuiller - harpsichord


Shortly after Luigi Boccherini’s death on 28 May 1805, two journalists in Leipzig and Paris agreed that he had been “an excellent cellist capable of bewitching audiences with the incomparable sound and expressive melody of his instrument” and “a wonderful cellist. He especially charmed us with his incomparable sonority and the very expressive song of his instrument.” However, posterity in the nineteenth century was most unkind to him, allowing him to “survive” thanks to a Minuet chosen at random, transposed for and endlessly churned out by every possible instrument (and even the voice), a somewhat “doctored” concerto, and finally editions of a small batch of “sonatas for cello and piano” adorned with an improbable arsenal of technical and performance markings far removed from the Boccherinian spirit. Bruno Cocset pays tribute to one of the precursors of the Golden Age of the cello by recording five sonatas based on the manuscripts of the extensive Noseda Collection of the Milan Conservatory. He is accompanied by his partners from Les Basses Reunies, Maude Gratton , Bertrand Cuiller (harpsichord), Emmanuel Jacques (cello continuo) and Richard Myron.


It’s some considerable time since this team gave us Volume 1, containing Boccherini’s Cello Concertos in G (G480) and A (G475) and the Cello Sonatas in B-flat (G565), C (G17) and A (G4), recorded in 2004 and released on ALPHA084. Two sonatas and one concerto from this album, G565, G480 and G17, were reissued in 2017 on a budget-price 5-CD set with book, available for around £36/$28 (ALPHA890, Cello Stories). Tully Potter – review – singled out the three Boccherini works as the cherries on that cake (my words) and even suggested the original CD as the best option. Now the cherry-pickers have a second volume and, if anything, it’s even more attractive than the first. Unfortunately, however, all that remain generally available of Volume 1 are the three pieces contained on the multi-CD set.

Most of the recent releases from Bruno Cocset and his team have been reissues on the mid-price Alpha Baroque Masterpieces label, as in the case of the Barrière Cello Sonatas on ALPHA330 in 2017 – review: NB the link no longer applies to this or any Alpha recordings. Cocset’s 1998 recording of the Vivaldi Cello Sonatas is well worth obtaining, even despite the overlap with another reissue in the same series from Marco Ceccato and Accademia Ottoboni and a budget twofer from Hyperion.

Bruno Cocset’s Boccherini, on a specially constructed ‘Boccherini Bel Canto’ cello (Charles Riché, 2004) remains as much in the top rank as on Volume 1, but the support from Les Basses Réunies is more varied on this second volume, with two kinds of fortepiano, each appearing in one sonata (G2, and bringing out the galant style in G12), and harpsichord in G1, while the second cello provides the rounded continuo in G1, G5, G12 and G13. Boccherini seems to have kept his cards close to his chest as to how these works were to be performed, but Cocset’s solution makes ample sense.

Christian and Sebastian Benda, the latter on fortepiano, for all the quality of the playing, sound a little threadbare by comparison in Boccherini’s G2 on ‘Volume 1’ (8.554324; Volume 2 never seems to have materialised). Subscribers to Naxos Music Library can stream both that and the new Alpha.

Normally I might have counselled against playing all five sonatas in one go, but the variety in the support compensates for an all-sonata disc which might otherwise be at a disadvantage when the predecessor had two concertos to vary the sonata theme. There was also a guitar in the mix on Volume 1 – an instrument which features in much of Boccherini’s music – and I’m a little surprised that we didn’t have one again, but that’s my only small reservation. A more important reservation concern the fact that one dealer is asking as much as £17.06 for this CD, almost 50% more than others. Why?

The texts employed are those in the important collection in the Milan Music Conservatoire; though, as Cocset notes, none of these has been identified as in Boccherini’s hand, they provide the best source.

The notes in the booklet by Yves Gérard, editor of the standard catalogue, hence the ‘G’ numbers, are very welcome; they are also decently translated into English.

The sound is OK even in the pathetic 160kb/s mp3 press preview – why do the Outhere group continue to think this acceptable for reviewers? It’s much better and closer to CD quality as streamed in 320kb/s from Naxos Music Library, but it would be better still if Outhere were to give reviewers at least 16-bit sound; BIS, Linn1, Chandos and Hyperion all make 24-bit available, sometimes even in 24/192 format to allow us to give the recording its due.

I enjoyed this new release enough to regret that Volume 1 is now available only partially and in a 5-CD set; perhaps Alpha will reissue it separately in the near future in their mid-price series. Perhaps, too, we shall be treated to a third volume without having to wait so long – in another thirteen years I’m unlikely to be around and certainly not compos mentis enough to review it.

1 Now that Linn are part of the Outhere group, their new releases also reach me in 160kb/s mp3. Given their reputation in the audio field, I’m pleased that I can also obtain their 24-bit downloads. Quelle différence! ---Brian Wilson,

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Fri, 08 Feb 2019 16:41:50 +0000
Boccherini ‎– Streich Quartette (String Quartets) (1991) Boccherini ‎– Streich Quartette (String Quartets) (1991)

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Streichquartett Nr.90 F-Dur, Op.64 Nr.1 G.248
1 	Allegro Molto 	7:19
2 	Adagio Non Tanto 	7:21
3 	Allegro Vivo Ma Non Presto 	4:12
Streichquartett Nr.19 D-Dur, Op.15 Nr.1 G.177
4 	Presto 	5:43
5 	Allegro Rondeau 	2:27
Streichquartett Nr.36 G-Moll, Op.24 Nr.6 G.194
6 	Allegro Vivo Assai 	4:58
7 	Adagio 	5:36
8 	Minuetto - Trio 	4:23
Streichquartett Nr.55 A-Dur, Op.39 G.213
9 	Allegro Moderato 	7:42
10 	Minuetto - Trio 	3:02
11 	Grave 	4:16
12 	Allegro Giusto 	4:42

Petersen Quartett:
Ulrike Petersen - I violin
Gernot Süssmuth - II violin
Friedemann Weigle - viola
Hans-Jakob Eschenburg - cello


Joseph Haydn is usually regarded as the father of the string quartet. However, Luigi Boccherini wrote his first string quartets in 1761, just predating Haydn’s Op. 1 collection. Boccherini could not have known Haydn’s work, so it would appear that the two composers independently arrived at the same idea. But there can be little doubt that Boccherini was the first to add either a second viola or cello to the standard string quartet to form a string quintet. This double CD with the Petersen Quartet features four each of Boccherini’s string quartets and quintets, making this set a convenient introduction to his chamber music.

Boccherini is a composer who is capable of surprising even when his work seems to be proceeding along a well-trodden path. One of the leading cellists of his day, his virtuoso command of the instrument can be seen in his occasionally very high-lying cello lines. Boccherini’s part-writing is correspondingly less violin-dominated than the early Haydn quartets, all the lines behaving with a great deal of freedom. An example is the first movement of the Quartet no. 36, in which the theme is given a two-part treatment featuring canonic imitation over a pedal point. The violin and cello are often given mini-cadenzas, particularly in the slow movements. Boccherini’s dramatic pauses also recall Haydn, but the flightiness of his music more resembles C.P.E. Bach.

Many of the chamber groups that have recorded Boccherini have done so on original instruments; the Esterhazy Quartet and Europa Galante are two that come to mind. Because the Petersen Quartet - and their guest second viola and cello - play on modern instruments, their sound does not quite have the warmth of these ensembles. Nonetheless the Petersens play with a lightness of touch that shows how well they have thought this music through. Their performances are elegant and sensitive, and all the players get and take their chance to shine; I particularly enjoyed the contributions of their cellist Hans-Jakob Eschenburg. The ensemble’s intonation is impeccable throughout, and the recording has presence without being too close. This set offers very fine quartet and quintet playing, and will please anyone seeking an overview of Boccherini’s chamber music. ---Guy Aron,


The average music lover knows only one piece by Boccherini: the famous Menuet. And inded it is quintessential Boccherini, elegant, charming, sweetly melodic, warm, and graceful. However, there is more to this famous classical composer. His vast output of mainly chamber music shows him a genius craftsman, able to express himself in a wide range of emotions, in well balanced and perfected structures of classical style.

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Mon, 26 Feb 2018 16:44:00 +0000
Boccherini – Stabat Mater; D'Astorga – Stabat Mater (Robert King) [1999] Boccherini – Stabat Mater; D'Astorga – Stabat Mater (Robert King) [1999]

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Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805):
01. I. Stabat Mater dolorosa
02. II. Cuius animam gementem
03. III. Quae moerebat et dolebat
04. IV. Quis est homo, qui non fleret
05. V. Pro peccatis sua gentis
06. VI. Eia Mater, fons amoris
07. VII. Tui nati vulnerari
08. VIII. Virgo virginum praeclara
09. IX. Fac ut portem Christi mortem
10. X. Fac me plagis vulnerari
11. XI. Quando corpus morietur
Emanuele d'Astorga (1680-?1757):
12. I. Stabat Mater dolorosa
13. II. O quam tristis et afflicta
14. III. Quis est homo, qui non fleret
15. IV. Eia Mater, fons amoris
16. V. Sancta Mater, istud agas
17. VI. Fac me tecum pie flere
18. VII. Virgo virginum praeclara
19. VIII. Fac me plagis vulnerari
20. IX. Christe quum sit hinc exire

Susan Gritton, soprano
Sarah Fox, soprano
Susan Bickley, mezzo-soprano
Paul Agnew, tenor
Peter Harvey, bass
The King's Consort
Conductor - Robert King


Boccherini wrote very little vocal music; however he left two settings of the Stabat mater. It was first set in 1781 for solo soprano and strings and then in 1800 for two sopranos and tenor, obviously influenced by the hugely-popular Pergolesi Stabat mater of 1736. There are many similarities in the notation and harmony—even the same key of F minor is used. The writing is of extraordinary individuality and seems to come straight from the heart. This unjustly neglected piece is surely one of the most remarkable sacred compostions of the era.


Emanuele d'Astorga was one of the most colourful figures in early eighteenth-century music and his life has often been the subject of legend rather than fact (brief details of which can be discovered in Robert King's illuminating booklet notes). During his life, Astorga was best known for his well-written and tuneful chamber cantatas (of which more than 150 survive) and his opera Dafni (only Act 1 now survives). But by far his most enduring work has proved to be this setting of the Stabat mater, his only surviving sacred composition. Throughout it we hear Astorga's gift for writing warm melodies, typical of the Neapolitan style of the time, and how he captures the melancholy of this most desolate of sacred texts. ---

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:01:45 +0000
Luigi Boccherini - 3 Gitarren-Quintette (Yepes) [2008] Luigi Boccherini - 3 Gitarren-Quintette (Yepes) [2008]

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  	Quintet No.4 In D Major
1. Allegro Maestoso 	4:49 	
2. Pastorale 	5:12 	
3. Grave Assai - Fandango (Mit Castagnetten) 	7:07 	
  	Quintet No.9 In C Major
4. Allegro Maestoso Assai 	9:26 	
5. Andantino 	3:20 	
6. Allegretto 	5:48 	
7. Maestoso E Lento, Variazioni I - XII "La Ritirata Di Madrid" 	6:12 
  	Quintet No.7 In E Minor
8. Allegro Moderato 	5:15 	
9. Adagio 	4:29 	
10. Minuetto - Trio - Minuetto 	4:12 	
11. Allegretto 	5:18

Narciso Yepes – guitar
Melos Quartet:
Gerhard Voss, Wilhelm Melcher – violin
Hermann Voss – viola
Peter Buck – cello
Lucero Tena – castanets


These very good recordings were always worth their place in the catalogue to which they are now restored. Bream's 1969 version of No. 7 is still the best available and Pepe Romero's integral set of the Quintets has since come on the scene. What this disc offers is the two most colourful items of all, the last movements of No. 9 (La ritirata di Madrid) and No. 4 (Fandango, complete with castanets) on the same record; in a corpus of music with so much below 'masterpiece' level this is not unimportant. It offers also much first-class playing from all concerned, tonal warmth and faithful recording—though the guitar might have been given a bit more prominence, audibility being preferable to fidelity in music of this unpretentious kind. ---

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Fri, 09 Aug 2013 15:37:31 +0000
Luigi Boccherini - Clementina (Heras-Casado) [2009] Luigi Boccherini - Clementina (Heras-Casado) [2009]

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Disc 1
Clementina, G.540
1 Sinfonía 6:13
Act I
2 Terceto: 'Huid, corazones' 3:27
3 Aria graciosa: 'Del tiempo dos rigores' 3:54
4 Aria: 'Sol puntual' 4:41
5 Duetto: 'Blanca paloma' 1:20
6 Aria: '¡Ay, de mí!' 4:51
7 Duetto: 'Duda si vive' 1:21
8 Aria: 'Incauta mariposa' 3:04
9 Cavatina: 'Con una buena cata' 3:33
10 Aria: 'El amante que se queja' 6:02
11 Finale: 'La comida está servida' 6:00

Disc 2
Act II
1 Copla: '¡Almas que Amor sujetó!' 3:15
2 Rondó a 6: 'Para que los placeres' 3:27
3 Cavatina: 'Quien libre ha vivido' 2:49
4 Aria: 'Sabrá por mis lecciones' 4:21
5 Aria: 'Cruel, injusta' 4:18
6 Minué: 'Vos sois su padre' 4:16
7 Recitado: '¿Amor? ¿Amor? ¿Y llanto?' / Duetto: 'No imploro tus piedades' 6:44
8 Recitado: '¡Oh, natural amor!' / Aria: 'Hablándome al oído' 6:32
9 Finale: 'Huid, corazones' 1:12

Maria Hinijosa – soprano, Clementina 
Sonia de Munck – soprano, Narcisa 
Marta Rodrigo – mezzosoprano, Donã Damiana
David Alegret – tenor, Don Urbano) 
Tony Marsol – baritone, Don Lázaro

La Compañía del Principé Aranjuez
Pablo Heras-Casado – conductor


This is an important recording. For nearly fifty years anyone interested in Ramón de la Cruz and Luigi Boccherini’s zarzuela has had to be content with a decent Swiss Radio broadcast in Italian translation, strongly cast but slightly cut. So all power to Pablo Heras-Casado and his Aranjuez forces – the team who surprised us with José Castel’s agreeable La fontana del placer a couple of years back – for reviving this legendary work. Now at last we can hear Clementina musically complete in its original language, handsomely packaged with full historical notes, synopsis and song texts.

When in 1787 the widowed Contesa-Duquesa de Benavente asked (that is, ordered) her in-house composer to join the day’s leading stage writer in concocting a two-act zarzuela for performance by her aristocratic friends – allowing for a substantial lunch to be served at half time – she can hardly have expected the forced marriage to turn out as well as it did. Ramón’s suave ‘lost baby’ intrigue may be slight, his aristocratic puppets familiar from Italian opera buffa; but he carefully obeyed the Unities, even to the point of having the characters go off for their lunch at the act break. And by introducing a comic music master to give the soprano sisters their singing lesson, he enabled many of the musical numbers to emerge elegantly from the play’s action. His texts for the solo arias and ensembles (the spoken dialogue is neither performed nor printed here) are witty, concise, and eminently singable.

Boccherini’s contribution is at a high level. Putting Mozart (whose own Le nozze di Figaro first saw the light this same year) to one side, I doubt whether there was another composer around who could have done the job better. Granted that Haydn’s operas have at least as much musical interest, but Boccherini outpaces his older contemporary in delineation of character, theatrical speed and comedy through music. Almost every number transcends convention, and the whole score easily stands comparison with its nearest Italian parallel, Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto. The Contesa-Duchesa’s little zarzuela may have been only an occasional piece, but Boccherini endowed it with lasting quality.

And how many music theatre works before Wagner were bold enough to feature a passionate brother-sister love duet? The gentle heroine and her tenor suitor may not exactly be Siegmund and Sieglinde – Don Urbano is a scrupulously well-mannered first cousin to Mozart’s Don Ottavio, and the pair don’t realise they’re siblings until after their dúo – but in such a prettily refined world the sexual frisson is there. There’s shade as well as sun in this Spanish formal garden.

Clementina may indeed be the one-off sport Ignacio Jassa Haro found it to be in his review of the recent Madrid staging, but in its musical and verbal excellence it stands alone as the 18th century bridge between zarzuela barroca and the classics of the romantic era. This zarzuela isn’t like quite anything else, though it is certainly written in the international (i.e. Italian) style of the time. More to the point, its rare use of a high-quality Spanish text is no mere claim to academic fame: it’s an important part of Clementina’s distinctive charm. Nationality can be manifest in words as well as music.

The Aranjuez performance does it justice in many ways. Heras-Casado’s direction is spruce and nicely paced, highlighting Boccherini’s juicy harmonic and rhythmic touches just enough without labouring the point. The period string playing is often exquisite, its lightness and diverse tonal flavour more revealing than the solid, modern chamber orchestra of the Swiss-Italian set under Angelo Ephrikian. Vocal ornamentation is conservative, almost to the point of plainness. The acoustic of the Royal Palace’s chapel has a less than ideal echo, but that’s been tamed well enough for only the minimum of detail to go missing and the overall sound is far superior to the thinly antiquated Swiss recording.

When it comes to the singers, honours are more evenly divided. Toni Marsol’s slighly mushy comic baritone could hardly have been expected to eclipse the memory of the great Fernando Corena as the music master, but David Alegret (familiar from the recent Giravolt de Maig on Harmonia Mundi) is a light lyric tenor of quality and technique secure enough to challenge even Ugo Benelli’s Urbano. His recitative when he discovers the disastrous truth about his fiancée, darkened by darting forays into remote minor keys, is one of Boccherini’s boldest strokes, and the heroic coloratura aria which follows is as daunting as anything in Mozart. Alegret is up for it – and almost as up to it – as his eminent Italian rival on the old set, finding a clarion ring to his voice without resorting to falsetto for the fast passage work (what a talented tenor friend the Dowager Duchess must have had!)

There’s not much to choose between the women either. Narcisa is a showier and more emotionally varied role than her titular sister, whose simpler music suggests the reflective girl who might well go choose to go into a convent if the right man doesn’t ask for her hand. Sonia de Munck and María Hinojosa are well contrasted in timbre, and more characterful than their Italian equivalents. If there’s one thing everyone knows Boccherini could write, it’s a minuet: and Doña Damiana, the girl’s governess, is given a peach of one here, its gracious melody spiced with rhythmic and instrumental sublimities. Marta Rodrigo sings it beautifully, and Elena Rivero manages the servant girl’s appropriately simpler (and even catchier) numbers with aplomb.

This Clementina benefits hugely from having been recorded during rehearsals for Ignacio García’s fully staged, outdoor production. There’s an interactive sense here not surprisingly missing from the 1964 Italian concert performance. Good though that was, this one is better in almost every respect. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, seduced time and again by the sensual theatricality of the score. Was there ever such an underrated composer as Boccherini? It is a pity that this was to remain his only mature stage work, but no matter. The Spanish original proves that opera’s loss was zarzuela’s gain. ---Christopher Webber,

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:36:45 +0000
Luigi Boccherini - Fandango, Sinfonie & Musica Notturna di Madrid (2006) Luigi Boccherini - Fandango, Sinfonie & Musica Notturna di Madrid (2006)

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Quintetto No. 4 In Re Maggiore "Fandango" Per Corda E Chitarra (G. 448)
1. Pastorale	4:22 	
2. Allegro Maestoso	6:12 	
3. Grave Assai - Fandango	11:35 	
Sinfonia In Re Minore A Più Strumenti Obbligati Op. 37, No. 3 (G. 517) "Grande"
4. Allegro Moderato	8:18 	
5. Minuetto Con Moto - Trio	3:42 	
6. Andante Amoroso	4:09 	
7. Finale - Allegro Vivo, Ma Non Tanto Presto	4:42 	
Sinfonia In La Maggiore Op. 35, No. 3 (G. 511)
8. Allegro Giusto	6:21 	
9. Andante	5:14 	
10. Allegro Ma Non Presto	4:08 	
Quintetto In Do Maggiore La Musica Notturna Delle Strade Di Madrid Op. 30, No. 6 (G. 324)
11. Le Campane Di L'Ave Maria	0:41 	
12. Il Tamburo Dei Soldati 	0:35 	
13. Minuetto Dei Ciechi		2:01 	
14. Il Rosario - Largo Assai - Allegro - Largo Come Prima		4:34 	
15. Passa Calle - Allegro Vivo	1:51 	
16. Il Tamburo	0:28 	
17. Ritirata - Maestoso	2:37

Le Concert des Nations:
Angelo Bartoletti - Viola
Bruno Cocset - Cello
Manfredo Kraemer - Concert Comedienne, Violin
Antoine Ladrette - Cello
Rolf Lislevand - Guitar
Juan de Udaeta - Castanets
Pablo Valetti - Violin
Claude Wassmer - Bassoon
Charles Zebley  - Flute


It has taken a long time for Jordi Savall to get around to the music of Luigi Boccherini, an Italian composer who, nevertheless, looms very large in the old Spanish music of which Savall is such an eloquent advocate. If the AliaVox release Luigi Boccherini: Fandango, Sinfonie & La Music Notturna di Madrid is any indication of Savall's potential in interpreting the music of Boccherini, then it was well worth the wait. Best known outside of Europe for his ubiquitous Minuet in A, Boccherini is often misunderstood as a fancy-pants composer of sugary confections for the court à la Dittersdorf, but anyone who knows his String Quartets, Op. 32, or any of the works belonging to this carefully chosen program already knows that Boccherini's music has some teeth.

The soloists, drawn from within Savall's group Le Concert des Nations, are superb in this music; Bruno Cocset has the all-important cello parts, which Boccherini himself would have played, and lutenist Rolf Lislevand delivers the guitar solo in the Fandango with a dashing, yet sensitive touch. Boccherini's much-loved, but seldom-recorded La Musica Notturna della Strade di Madrid gets its best ever recording here, stylish in presentation yet not downplaying some of the grit in Boccherini's score. An additional surprise here is a stormy D minor symphony from 1787 worthy of the best proto-Romantic Stürm und Drang efforts one might expect from C.P.E. Bach and Haydn's middle-period symphonies; the A major symphony is a lighter and more typical piece, but is substantial nonetheless.

Boccherini's dance and character pieces sound oddly modern, not in a "Stravinsky-like" sense, but in an "upbeat and contemporary" one. Some of the music, if played with too lush an ensemble, can take on an unintended travelogue-like feel, and one is not sure that Savall fully avoids this in the slow sections of the Fandango. On the other hand, these same portions are also among the most radio-friendly on this disc, and do draw the listener into the music. For those who continue to wonder what the Classical period has to offer outside of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, AliaVox's Luigi Boccherini: Fandango, Sinfonie & La Music Notturna di Madrid offers a resounding, and at times, giddily intoxicating answer. ---Uncle Dave Lewis, Rovi

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Tue, 10 Sep 2013 15:33:28 +0000
Luigi Boccherini – Flute Quintets Op.17 (1996) Luigi Boccherini – Flute Quintets Op.17 (1996)

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1. Flute Quintet No. 1 in D major, Op. 17, G. 419
I. Allegro assai
2. Flute Quintet No. 1 in D major, Op. 17, G. 419
II. Minuetto: Amoroso
3. Flute Quintet No. 2 in C major, Op. 17, G. 420
I. Allegro giusto
4. Flute Quintet No. 2 in C major, Op. 17, G. 420
II. Minuetto: Amoroso
5. Flute Quintet No. 3 in D minor, Op. 17, G. 421
I. Larghetto
6. Flute Quintet No. 3 in D minor, Op. 17, G. 421
II. Rondo: Allegro grazioso
7. Flute Quintet No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 17, G. 422
I. Andantino moderato
8. Flute Quintet No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 17, G. 422
II. Minuetto: Allegro
9. Flute Quintet No. 5 in G major, Op. 17, G. 423
I. Allegro moderato
10. Flute Quintet No. 5 in G major, Op. 17, G. 423
II. Allegro assai
11. Flute Quintet No. 6 in E flat major, Op. 17, G. 424
I. Larghetto
12. Flute Quintet No. 6 in E flat major, Op. 17, G. 424
II. Rondo: Allegro con moto

Alexandre Magnin – flute
Janarek Quartet:
Bretislav Vybiral, Jiri Novotny, Ladislav Kyselak, Vitezslav Zavadilik


Alexander Magnum and the Janacek Quartet are in top form, and the recorded sound is excellent. Boccherini's flute quitets are some of his finest compositions along wtih the string quitets. These are played with high technical and sensitivity to the sheer beauty of this music. This is a CD I will go back to many times. I was suprised how well the interpretation here fits perfectly with those of the string quintets and oboe quintets in the Boccherini Edition which also should not be missed. My only remaining wish is that that ensemble had also performed the Op. 19 and 55 flute quintets as well. Maybe they will in a later release. If you like instrumental music of the classical period, I think you also will find this album a great pleasure! ---Paul Emmerich,

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]]> (bluesever) Boccherini Luigi Tue, 19 Jan 2010 18:09:08 +0000