Boccherini's Quintets for Guitar and Strings do not highlight the guitar as solo instrument in the way that better-known Baroque concerti frame and focus upon their respective solo instruments. Rather, the instrument insinuates itself into a company of strings and plays along with them, sometimes providing a steady background and occasionally emerging as a conventional soloist.
Like a soccer player who becomes an NFL kicker, this unexpected entree of the guitar into an unfamiliar environment displays pleasing crossover skills and unanticipated potentialities.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble gives a truly splendid performance. Boccherini writes for a vivacious violin, and he certainly finds his desideratum among this ensemble. Indeed, the violin is arguably more prominent in this music than the guitar.
One does not finish a careful hearing of this performance astonished by Pepe Romero's technical virtuosity. Boccherini does not set this artist up for such an outcome. Rather, one concludes with admiration and gratitude for Romero's ability to sublimate certain soloist prerogatives and integrate himself fully into this string-ish company, where he plays with evident cameraderie.
The quality of the sounds produced by the Philips engineers is stunning, a word one strives not to use loosely.
¡Viva Romero and his tribe!
Field goals and extra points, after all, win football games.