Captivating and quirky, the quintets for keyboard and strings of Spanish composer Padre Antonio Soler were rare, even in the heyday of LP recordings. Now they are available for the first time on compact disc. 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 CDs, 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 second three quintets are available on Volume II.) 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. Though rare even on LP, Soler's quintets charmed listeners of the vinyl era. American Record Guide (October 1964) deemed the Quintet No. 6, on Westminster Records, "well off the beaten track of repertoire" and of "considerable musical as well as historical value," with "lovely moments that are worth savoring for themselves." Reviewing a Vox LP set of the complete quintets, Stereo Review's Richard Freed wrote (October 1973), "All six of these are really so endearing that it would take a hard heart to resist the set, once exposed to it." Paul Henry Lang, in High Fidelity (October 1973), called them "charming, melodious, and euphonious compositions."
Lively, tasteful, and finely balanced. The ensemble is ideally recorded. -- Fanfare
The pleasures of discovering this unfamiliar music are greatly enhanced by the performances. -- Chicago Tribune