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Penguin Guide, January 2009

BOCCHERINI: String Quartets, Opp. 32 and 39 8.555042
BOCCHERINI: String Quartets Op. 32, Nos. 3–6 8.555043

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.

Elaine Fine
American Record Guide, April 2002

"The two quartets from Opus 32... were written in 1780 and published by Antara in 1782. Both pieces are charming and graceful, and both seem to be rooted in a baroque concerto grosso style... The Opus 39 Quartet from 1787... is in a far more modern style than his earlier quartets. It is the kind of music that I believe Mozart would have enjoyed for its Italian expressiveness and its charm. The Borciani Quartet is also completely Italian... Their playing is filled with spirit and energy, always flowing forward while sensitive to all forms of musical light and shadow."

Roger-Claude Travers
Diapason, February 2002

Rémy Franck
Pizzicato, January 2002

"The still young Quartetto Borciani -- so called after their teacher and First Violinist of the Quartetto Italiano -- plays Boccherini unmarked by historical performance practice ... in a comfortable classical style with very homogeneous and warm sound, an almost ideal proportion of spirituality and intellectuality, with both a long view and affectionate touches of details, with spontaneity and discipline ... one is pleased to overflowing by the delightful music..."


Michael Jameson
BBC Music Magazine, December 2001

"There's room in the listings for sensibly priced recordings of the best of Boccherini's string quartets, and this Naxos disc fits the bill admirably. On this disc, it emulates the famous clarity and refined playing style of its mentor skilfully, and recorded sound is of consistent quality. Its effervescent and imaginative accounts of the first two quartets of the Op.32 group of 1780 have a rigour and vitality that suits the music perfectly. In the more substantial A major Quartet, Op.39, the players give an assured performance characterised by buoyantly sprung rhythms and vivid dynamic contrasts, probably best appreciated in the heartfelt slow movement. If you are new to the Boccherini quartets, these perfromances afford a splendid introduction."

Michael Jameson, October 2001

"There's always room in the catalog for enterprising budget-priced performances like these. The string quartets of Luigi Boccherini, though perhaps not as historically significant as his quintets, are engaging and under-valued pieces. If you want to try out a representative selection at minimal cost, you'll find this Naxos disc nicely fits the bill. The Borciani Quartet was formed in 1984 and named after the group's teacher, Paolo Borciani, who was the founding leader of Quartetto Italiano. In these performances the Borcianis successfully emulate the famous clarity and refinement of their models, providing assured, imaginative readings of the first two quartets from Boccherini's Op. 32 set--the best known and most frequently performed of the Boccherini quartets. All six were recorded on period instruments by the Esterhazy Quartet for Teldec in 1976. That fine survey had the advantage of completeness, and the lighter instrumental textures brought pleasing clarity and immediacy. However, the Borcianis' well-prepared and naturally spontaneous accounts are equally well played, and the Naxos sound is certainly superior. Better still is the Borciani Quartet's splendid reading of the more substantial A major work, a polished and cultured performance made more compelling by energetically pointed rhythms and marked dynamic contrasts, which listeners will best appreciate during the lyrically expressive slow movement. An excellent disc all round."

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