Ruperto Chapi (1851-1909) is one not very familiar to a non-specialist. I had not previously encountered his music prior to the release of his String Quartets 1 & 2 (Sono Luminus 92185) as performed by Cuarteto Latinoamericano. I've been listening closely to it and I must say it is a revelation.
His quartets show more affinity to the brio Boccherini than to the romantic era within which music dwelt in that period. They are straightforwardly brilliant, compact and vividly conceived four-movement works that have a very Spanish inflection and engage with an elan which is quite unresistable. Thematically they breathe with spirit and elegance of form.
The Cuarteto Latinoamericano gives us sparkling renditions of the quartets with a zest that leaves nothing to be desired. These are near-ideal performances one imagines being topped with some difficulty.
Chapi was in his lifetime better known for his Zarzuela and lyric works. The turn to the quartets came rather late in his career. But no matter, since they are very much sufficient in themselves.
Brilliant! I look forward to more from the Cuarteto Latinoamericano and further explorations of Chapi as I find further examples out there. This one is a stunner.