Quartetti Op.32 n.3-6

Quartetto Borciani


The range of invention in these four works, composed in [Boccherini's] compositional prime in 1780, is extraordinarily wide... Named after the leader of the much admired Quartetto Italiano, this group play in a manner close to their model, with passion, intensity and accuracy, and their soft playing is wonderfully smooth and controlled, with a fine, veiled sound -- try the slow movement of the G minor. In the quick movements they are a little sharper, more incisive in articulation than sometimes seems ideal for this music (they of course use modern instruments), but certainly the result is enormously spirited. And they make his textures alive and dynamic, almost percussive at times... This is very fine quartet playing and immensely endearing music; one can hardly ask for more."

Stanley Sadie, Gramophone

This delightful disc presents absolutely first-rate performances of chamber music that deserves to be much better known. ...the Quartetto Borciani plays these quartets for all they're worth. In particular, they characterize the opening movements with as much gusto as the music can take. Even the initial Allegro comodo of the tepidly genial G minor quartet (Op. 32 No. 5) moves purposefully forward, while the same work's final Capriccio ad libitum captures the players (and the composer) in full fantastic flight. By contrast, slow movements are marvelously sustained and possess a genuinely Italianate singing tone--as in the heavenly and impressively large-scale Adagio from the D major quartet (Op. 32 No. 3). In sum, you won't easily hear a more persuasive case being made for this music, and Naxos' sonics are top-drawer. Come and explore!

David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com



Discover these sadly neglected works has proved one of life's real joys. Naxos issued the first two of Boccherini's opus 32 string quartets last September (8.555043), and now add the remaining four in this highly enjoyable release. Composed in the early 1780's, they come from a happy period in a life that saw Boccherini plunge from wealth to poverty. While Haydn was perfecting the art of string quartet writing, Boccherini was a free spirit, always happy to experiment, and often in very unorthodox ways. The result is a group of works that often surpass anything Haydn composed in this genre. Listen to the boisterous third track of the disc, and savour the sheer vivacity that Boccherini could bring to music. There are moments that didn't quite work out, but he was a master of his art, each quartet expertly crafted. They could not hope for more passionate performances. Fulvio Luciani, the Italian quartet's immaculate leader, produces myriads of notes played with an unfailingly accurate intonation, the balance between instruments calculated so as to provide perfect internal clarity.

David Denton, David's Review Corner

Following the Borciani s first disc of Luigi Boccherini's String Quartets (Naxos 8.555042) comes this even more enchanting disc. While his chamber music may not be as well known as that of either Haydn or Mozart's, due to it not exhibiting the resolute aspirations of his two more celebrated contemporaries, Boccherini's does incorporate some delightfully genial writing, and splendidly distinct structures, as in the Allegro bizzarro, at the opening of the Quartet in C major, Op. 32, No. 4. The Quartetto Borciani play the four works here with obvious enthusiasm, revealing a certain amount of passion and exhilaration when the music warrants it, with the finale of the Quartet in G minor, Op. 32, No. 5 - Capriccio ad libitum -revealing both composer and players at their most lively. They characterise each distinct movement magnificently, and manage to urge even the more serene pieces forward with lively playing and wonderfully constant tempos, giving the music some additional support. The Quartet also possesses a wonderful Italianate character that is decidedly suggestive of their predecessors, the wonderful Quartetto Italiano. Naxos' sonics are excellent with natural tones and a nice amount of reverberation assisting the performance, making this a highly enjoyable recording.

Simon Groome, Hi Fi+, May 2002

The Quartetto Borciani offer an equally accomplished alternative on modern instruments, which have plenty of character and vitality and are always sensitive to Boccherini’s gentle touches of expressive melancholy. They include Boccherini’s later A major Quartet, Op. 39 (1787), which has a particularly touching Grave third movement, most affectingly played here. The Naxos recording is vivid and truthful and there are excellent notes.

Penguin Guide


Naxos 8.555043