Padre Antonio Soler’s six quintets for harpsichord and string quartet are post-Baroque masterstrokes, blending Baroque and early Classical styles with a savory seasoning of Spanish folk music.
The complete quintets are represented on two albums, sold separately, and are the only currently available recordings in any format of Soler’s quintets, according to the fall 1996 Schwann Opus catalog, and form the first complete set on CD. (The first three quintets are available on Volume I.)
"In terms of crowd-pleasing qualities, the last three quintets of Soler may even eclipse their predecessors," says record producer James Ginsburg. "Yet they also reward the serious listener." In fact, Ginsburg suggest that newcomers may want to start with the second and newest Soler album, and then, if it whets their appetite, pick up the earlier album.
While formally less diverse than the first three quintets, the latter three are especially lyrical and offer a stimulating variety of moods and timbres which - at least in the hands of the present performers - evoke the sound of woodwinds, chimes, harp, and even Spanish guitar.
Cedille undertook the Soler quintets because they represent neglected yet pleasurable repertoire - the label’s hallmark - and in Schrader, Cedille found a Chicago-based artist who championed Soler and could be counted on to give a world-class reading, Ginsburg says. The Chicago Baroque Ensemble, two of whose members performed on the first quintets album, is a relatively new organization that testifies to the quality and depth of Chicago’s period-instrument community.