Josetxu Obregón and La Ritirata bring us an update on 18th-century cello music and performance in Spain with their latest Glossa CD. The selection made by this exciting cellist provides a sample of pieces which would have been heard in Spain during the infancy of the instrument and in the period leading into the Age of the Enlightenment. Such was the popularity of the cello many composers and virtuosi came from elsewhere to perform, either passing through Spain or settling there for life, as did Luigi Boccherini and Domingo Porretti (a cello concerto from the latter is performed here).
Obregón’s vivid advocacy –matched by scholar José Carlos Gonsálvez in his accompanying booklet – reaches out to the first native cello school, with music from Pablo Vidal and José Zayas and many of these pieces here are recorded for the first time. As well as a captivating sonata from Jean-Pierre Duport (dedicated to the Duke of Alba after the French cellist’s visit to Madrid), we are also treated to a new reading of Boccherini’s evocative 'Fandango', drawn from the Guitar Quintet in D, complete with castanets!
La Ritirata’s choices of instruments and performing styles admirably match the demands of music ranging from the Baroque to the Classical and this new disc paves the way for a broader exploration of the presence of the cello in the group’s home country.