That's what they sometimes called poor Boccherini in his own day. But, hey, they said worse of Beethoven, and both could cry all the way to immortality. There is some truth to the invidious comparison, though: Like the Haydn of Esterhazy, Boccherini worked in a cultural backwater (Spain), and so, untrammeled by what was happening in the great music centers of Europe, the Italian master created his own solutions to the problem of the symphony. The result may not be the capstones of the 18th-century symphonic tradition, but many of Boccherini's symphonies are stylish, highly individual, and very memorable. The four on this disk are a case in point, with the unique, concertante-style writing Boccherini imparts to the slow movements and minuets. I especially like "Symphony No. 24," whose high-spirited finale features some wonderful writing for the horns.
The horns, and all the players, that Pople leads are in virtuoso form, and as usual in late 17th- and early 18th-century music, the conductor is exemplary. Hyperion's typically fine sonics (intimate and impactive here) make this an especially desirable release.