William Boyce The Eight Symphonies

Although the Bournemouth Sinfonietta perform on modern instruments in this CRD re-issue of Boyce’s Symphonies Op. 2, Ronald Thomas’s interpretation of them is often strikingly brisk and spirited such as to rival those by authentic practice ensembles in terms of those qualities.

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“The performances here are stylish, full of the needed verve and sense of enjoyment, with a fine grasp of the period. They are provided with engineering worthy of their achievement.” Peter Turner – Hi-Fi News & Record Review

The characteristics of Thomas’s interpretation are well displayed in the most famous Symphony of the set, No. 4 in F – taken over by Boyce from his incidental music for ‘The Shepherd’s Lottery’. The Bournemouth Sinfonietta play with irrepressible vigour, and the twinkling of the harpsichord continuo in the background provides further jollity to the overall timbre. The contrasting Vivace ma non troppo middle movement lilts amiably, and the final ‘Gavot’ [sic] palpably bears the pulse of such a dance. Other dances throughout the set also come out well, and the subtle addition of flutes to the timbre of the Moderato of No. 7 makes that movement sound like a French dance – it could almost come from a Rameau opera.

Thomas’s recording is a good place to start, and will engage those who look for a more solid, well-rounded manner (despite the fast speeds).

Curtis Rogers, MusicWeb-International.com

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