So who was Cayetano Brunetti? He was an Italian composer active in the Spanish courts during the mid-1700s. Although quite prolific (451 works), Brunetti isn’t s well-known today as Luigi Boccherini (another Spanish court employee). The primary reason seems to be that Brunetti didn’t publish.
Most of his works were for the entertainment of Charles III and Charles IV. Outside of Spain, Brunetti was virtually unknown. So I’m happy for any release of his music — especially one as well-performed as this.
Most of Brunetti’s compositions were for chamber groups. This collection of six oboe sextets is part of that body of work. Written for “the amusement of His Catholic Majesty,” they are both accessible and charming. But these sextets also have some depth.
The instrumentation calls for two violins, two violas, cello, and oboe. Having a pair of the higher stringed instruments provided Brunetti with several options. Sometimes the two violins play together, sometimes separately, sometimes only one plays — and ditto with the violas.
Brunetti could reduce the ensemble to a string trio, expand it to a string quartet, or deliver the full sound of all five instruments. And although the oboe is the focus, there are plenty of passages where the strings take the lead.
Oboist Robert Silla plays with a clean, fluid tone. He’s especially agile in rapid passages. And plays with a warm, expressive sound during the slow movements.
These are works worth exploring. And makes me wonder. If these six sextets are that good, what do the other 445 Burnetti works sound like?
Cayetano Brunetti: Complet Oboe Sextets
Robert Silla, oboe; Il Maniatico Ensemble
IBS Classical IBS92021
2 CD Set