Bottesini: String Quintets - Gran Quintetto
Catalog: SOMMCD 0645
Format: COMPACT DISC
Musicanti, I; Bosch, Leon
SOMM Recordings celebrates the bi-centenary of Giovanni Bottesini, a legendary double bass player and pioneering composer for the instrument, with First Recordings of his String Quintets Nos.2 (E minor) and No.3 (A major), performed by double bass virtuoso Leon Bosch and I Musicanti. A passionate, articulate champion for the double bass, Bottesini brought the instrument out of the orchestra and into the spotlight. His own prowess on the double bass and his music for it has seen him described as “the Paganini of the double bass”. Making its first appearance on album, the C minor Second String Quintet adopts the string quartet-with-second cello scoring employed by Schubert and Boccherini to create a work of rhythmic vitality, color and contrasting moods. Also receiving its premiere recording, the intricately designed Third String Quintet, in A major, employs the two-viola instrumentation preferred by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Beethoven and is, as Toby Deller observes in his booklet notes, “the more lyrically Romantic work of the three on this recording, with four sharply characterized movements”. Scored for string quartet and double bass, Bottesini’s Naples-composed First String Quintet, dedicated to Mercadante and familiarly known as the Gran Quintetto in C minor, completes the program. It seamlessly marries a venerable and inherited Italian instrumental tradition with the bel canto poetry of Italian romantic opera. Making their debuts on SOMM are double bassist Leon Bosch – of whom The Strad has said, he “demonstrates a natural affinity” with Bottesini; “his performances combine sonorous, lyrical, exquisitely nuanced playing with a remarkable command of the instrument’s bravura potential” – and the “flexible line-up of super-talented hand-picked performers” (Planet Hugill) he founded in 2013, I Musicanti.