I Solisti di Perugia

Boccherini: "La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid"

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Boccherini is the name above the title on this Camerata release by I Solisti di Perugia, Boccherini: La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid. That might leave one to believe that this is a whole disc of Boccherini, but it is not. The familiar, but by no means over-recorded, Boccherini work is paired with two more obscure concerti of about the same time period; Viotti's Prima Sinfonia Concertante in F and a Viola Concerto in E flat of Alessandro Rolla, both of which are modern arrangements. I Solisti di Perugia is a modern instrument group consisting of young players based in Perugia that performs a wide swath of music ranging from the Baroque to the twenty first century. That's why the Viotti Prima Sinfonia Concertante might sound a little plummy to ears accustomed to period instruments and reminiscent of the way Baroque music was played in the 1960s, but here that's not a bad thing and can even be a little refreshing; certainly soloists Paolo Franceschini and Luca Arcese put a good game on in this one, and the overall feel of the performance is relaxed; perhaps too much so. The Rolla, an odd, single-movement work, is the most uneven performance here; while the finale is strong and viola soloist Luca Ranieri is strong right along with it, the long, 17-minute movement decidedly has its dead spots.

That leaves the Boccherini "musica notturna," and from the first it is clear that this performance got the most care and feeding of the three. It is nicely done, picaresque, echt-European, though period instrument heads might find it a tad old fashioned. However, it is such a good performance that to condemn it on such grounds would be patently unfair; the biggest concern here is that the material taken along for the ride just simply isn't as strong as the main event. Camerata's Boccherini: La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid featuring I Solisti di Perugia is a nice try, and given a bit better programming would be easy to recommend. For the Viotti, this is competitive, though the piece is a bit more serious and substantive than this performance would imply and one wishes I Solisti di Perugia had taken it that way.

Camerata's recording quality, by the way, is really good.

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