Boccherini’s works may be undervalued today, but in his time the Italian achieved considerably renown as a lyrical melodist. Set apart from the Austro-German mainstream, he retained an individual and distinctive voice – and for a composer whose most admired traits included expressiveness and intimacy, it should come as little surprise that his major legacy is a fine body of distinctive chamber music.
Transcribed from various pre-existing quintets by the composer, these quintets for guitar and strings were created in the 1790s for the Spanish guitar-playing Duke of Benavente-Osuna, who Boccherini served after his return to Madrid in 1785. From the highly dramatic G445, whose last movement ends in dark turbulence, to the sunny disposition of G446, this selection reveals Boccherini’s deft adaptation of his perhaps more ostensibly traditional music to novel sound-worlds. It also includes G447, a work that accords the guitar several standout solos. G448 and G453 are the final two pieces to be featured, both of whose finales – the former’s use of the ‘fandango’ dance, for instance – incorporate overtly Spanish material.
Full of energy and charisma, these are highly evocative pieces that deserve more recognition. Massimo Scattolin’s performances represent an important addition to the Boccherini discography that will help ensure that the unique delights of the composer’s music continue to be treasured.
Rarely performed but appealing classical repertoire.
Booklet note by Boccherini authority Graham Rogers.