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Boccherini - Madrid

Boccherini: Cello Concertos Nos. 3 in G major, G. 480 and 10 in D major, G. 483
Aria accademica 'Se d'un amor tiranno' G557 for soprano, concertante cello and orchestra
Fandango from Quintet No. 4 in D G448

Sandrine Piau (soprano)
Pulcinella Ensemble
Ophélie Gaillard (director & cello)

Ambroisie - AM126 [1CD + DVD]

Luigi Boccherini, master cellist and prolific composer, has yet to achieve fully the appreciation of his originalty and importance. Eleven cello concertos survive; many decades ago I knew the Bb in an arrangement by a 19th C cellist Grützmacher, and found it frankly stodgy.

The two selected here sparkle with vitality and Ophélie Gaillard, the protagonist of this imaginative release, is as captivating as she looks whether playing or talking on the two bonus features which raise this release to the level of an imperative purchase.

Add a virtuoso soprano in an extended aria, and the heady Fandango, and you have a real winner, and one which demonstrates that a short DVD "extra" (not charged additionally) can enhance the value of a sound recording immeasurably.

The liner notes raise interesting questions partly in Gaillard's imagined converstion with the composer whose music she loves, and in her exploration of issues surrounding what turns out to be a really fascinating composer.

The DVD (c. 40 mins) carries two documentaries narrated by Ophélie Gaillard, and you will enjoy seeing her colleagues rehearse the Fandango.

I doubt whether you'll get (or receive) anything more exciting and enjoyable for Christmas !

Peter Grahame Woolf