Emilio Moreno / La Real Cámara

Luigi Boccherini: La Bona Notte

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The booklet notes to this group of trios by Luigi Boccherini effuse at length on the idea of Night Music, but actually the single movement that gives the album its "bona notte" title is probably the low point of the set, a simple string of brilliant diatonic scales that the work shares with countless other light chamber pieces of the Classical period. Much of the rest, however, is more characteristic of Boccherini, and it's especially interesting in that these are early works, composed shortly after Boccherini's arrival in Spain in 1768. As string trios (for two violins and cello except for the final piece, for violin, viola, and cello) they resemble neither Haydn's light works in the genre not Mozart's dense and ambitious Divertimento for string trio in E flat major, K. 563. Instead they're pure Boccherini, with loose, episodic forms and an appealing melodic gift that both prefigure Schubert. The opening String Trio in G major, Op. 34/2, makes a good sample. It is in four movements (this well in advance of the time when even symphonies routinely had four movements), and it is quite ingenious in the way the few stringed instruments are deployed so as to define large musical spaces. The trio La Real Cámara catches this expansive sense of the music, but the sound is poor; the musicians are placed in a Barcelona chapel that makes them sound unpleasantly harsh. Still, this recording, originally made in 1994, was a good candidate for reissue by Glossa in 2011; listeners can use all the Boccherini they can get.

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