I stumbled across these discs of chamber music from the sensational Boston Symphony Chamber Players, on their own label, quite by accident. And I immediately ordered copies from Amazon. Both discs sadly have been discontinued. However, new copies of the 20th-Century French collection appear to be available (at least in limited supplies), and the Mozart disc can be found used from Marketplace sellers - which is where I purchased mine (in August 2017).
Beginning with the Mozart, recorded in 2006, I must be brief - for after listening to it, words nearly fail me.
- This simply is playing of exquisite musicality.
- And the superlative SACD recorded sound compliments the playing superbly.
This disc brought so much enjoyment I immediately listened to it again (which is a rare occurrence). What is offered here is the absolute epitome of grace, charm and the sheer joy of making music. This is simply one of the most uplifting, life-affirming collection of performances I have ever heard. Chamber music recordings do not get any better than this.
And the excellence is repeated in their companion 20th-Century French music collection, recorded in 2011. The works included range from the relatively well-known to the more innovative:
Ravel - Introduction and Allegro
Tomasi - Cinq Danses profanes et sacrees
Dutilleux - Les Citations
Deubussy - Sonata for flute, viola and harp
Francaix - Dixtour
The Ravel and Debussy are well represented on CD and receive here the most musically involving and absolutely gorgeous performances ever. I had not heard the Tomasi, Dutilleux or Francaix in a long while. The Dutilleux is what I would call an "important" work, rather than essential listening, and it's not one I will ever come to love. However, the Tomasi, in particular, is a fantastic piece for wind quintet. And the Francaix is even more rewarding, uniquely scored for wind quintet + sting quintet. Both are played brilliantly - full of life, character and spontaneity. Indeed all through this program, the playing is magnificent - as is the SACD recorded sound.
Incidentally, there is a disc of Debussy sonatas played by an earlier compliment of BSO principals which comprise the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. It was recorded by DG in 1970 and has recently been reissued on SACD by Pentatone. I look forward to hearing that recording.
I am thrilled to have become acquainted with this group. They certainly occupy the same exalted company of supreme excellence alongside the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. That group recorded much more prolifically in the 90s for Delos and Arabesque Records. Both groups provide some of the very best chamber music ever recorded, and both have been afforded excellent recording quality as well.