Capriccio originally released this performance of Boyce symphonies in 1995. They return as part of the label’s Encore reissue series. Sir Neville Marriner leads the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (ASMF) in performances that may be a little dated, but they can still delight.
Marriner recorded hundreds of baroque and early classical era works, yet never ventured into the field of authentic performance practices — that is, using instruments of the period. The ASMF plays (as they do here) with modern instruments plus harpsichord.
While historic practices may be the norm today, these mid-1990s performances are perfectly valid readings that hold up well. Marriner brings Boyce’s symphonies to life with a light touch. There’s a genial nature to these works that charms the listener.
Capriccio’s remastering is well done. The ensemble has a transparent sound to it, making it easy to discern the ensemble’s inner voices. Although the overall sound is clear and detailed, there’s a certain softness around the edges. But that’s not uncommon in older recordings.
I’m glad to have these performances back in circulation.
William Boyce: Eight Symphonies
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; Sir Neville Marriner, conductor
Capriccio Encore C8006