BOCCHERINI Apocryphal Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord
This disc’s cover image – violinist Emilio Moreno selecting a patterned shirt from a bundle on a hanger, jacket gripped in his mouth as birds frolic in a nest atop his head, while harpsichordist Aarón Zapico stands by with his own head sliced open to accommodate an equally inhabited bird’s nest – makes one assume that there is some significance to be discerned. However, having pored over the booklet notes I still can’t explain with any confidence what’s going on here. My limp guess would be that, with the disc’s musical contents being four violin and keyboard transcriptions of Boccherini works which began life scored for other forces – two contemporary reworkings and two by Moreno and Zapico themselves – we might see the shirt shape as an ‘original design’, and choosing patterns akin to choosing which forces to rearrange it for. Maybe.
The booklet notes are a bit curious too, being a rebuttal against those who claim arrangements are less valid than ‘originals’; does anyone actually think that of 18th-century music, given we all know that everyone from Bach to Handel to Haydn recycled and recycled? My advice therefore is to focus entirely on this disc’s audio contents, because these consist of beautifully worked arrangements, brought off with a neat and gentle approach that’s a perfect fit for Boccherini’s dainty melodies. Moreno on his 1761 Gagliano is sunny of outlook and sweetly austere of playing style, articulation subtly detached, with vibrato switching between light and none. Zapico, meanwhile, is eloquent on a smoothly delicate and sonorous copy of a Spanish harpsichord; a keyboard nationality no doubt reflecting Boccherini’s adopted country, and an especially nice touch given it’s not one that crops up all that regularly on disc.