Patrick Cohen / Quatuor Mosaïques

Boccherini: Piano Quintets

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One of the most impressively productive composers in music history, Luigi Boccherini had a special fondness for chamber music in all of its guises. In addition to the more "standard" string quartet, Boccherini also popularized the string quintet (with a special fondness for the "two cello" quintet) and eventually the heretofore uncommon piano quintet. By the time Boccherini began writing his Op. 56 & 57 piano quintets, he had already amassed a catalog of more than 300 chamber compositions. The piano quintets, therefore, splendidly represent his mature, refined style. Playing a selection of three quintets from each opus, this Naïve features a reissue of performances by fortepianist Patrick Cohen and the Quatuor Mosaïques. These recordings were highly regarded at first release and are just as relevant and worthy of praise now. Cohen and Mosaïques go beyond simply playing on period instruments and capture the entire early Classical sensibility and atmosphere. Their performances are historically informed, but in no way come across as merely academic exercises; the joy of making quality chamber music comes across in every bar. The thoughtful balance between instruments allows listeners to easily pick up on each of the lines in the score while still having the melody-carrying line rise to the top. Naïve's sound quality is pleasantly clear and present, capturing the fullness and refinement in Cohen and Mosaïques' playing. The only letdown is that Naïve does not include the complete quintets from Opp. 56 & 57. The special packaging is visually attractive, but a bit cumbersome.

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