Quartetto Delfico

Vincenzo Manfredini: Compelete String Quartets

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Vincenzo Manfredini was an Italian composer of the Classical era, whose association with opera in the Russian court was his chief claim to fame, though he was also highly regarded as a theoretician. Like other composers of the period, he was fluent in all genres, and among those he composed were varieties of chamber music. He wrote his set of six string quartets around 1781, and they were involved in a long running debate about the merits of instrumental music versus vocal music. Manfredini was certainly skilled in composing operas and vocal works, but he defended instrumental composition as absolute music, finding in it a valid artistic expression without recourse to setting words. Judging his string quartets in comparison with those of Haydn or Mozart, one might find them rudimentary in design, simple in content, and modest in scope, yet they are charming examples of music composed expressly for amateurs. This recording by the Quartetto Delfico presents the quartets in what seems to be authentic period style, though the group's senza vibrato playing comes a little too close to a buzzing tone in the close-up recording.

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