Luigi Boccherini

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Biography


Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini was an Italian classical era composer and cellist whose music retained a courtly and galante style while he matured somewhat apart from the major European musical centers. Boccherini is most widely known for one particular minuet from his String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5 (G 275), and the Cello Concerto in B Flat Major (G 482). The latter work was long known in the heavily altered version by German cellist and prolific arranger Friedrich Grützmacher, but has recently been restored to its original version. Boccherini composed several guitar quintets, including the Fandango, which was influenced by Spanish music. His biographer Elisabeth Le Guin noted among Boccherini's musical qualities "an astonishing repetitiveness, an affection for extended passages with fascinating textures but virtually no melodic line, an obsession with soft dynamics, a unique ear for sonority, and an unusually rich palette of introverted and mournful affects."

Biography

Boccherini was born in Lucca, Italy, into a musical family. His father, a cellist and double-bass player, sent him to study in Rome at a young age. In 1757, they both went to Vienna, where the court employed them as musicians in the Burgtheater. In 1761 Boccherini went to Madrid, entering in 1770 the employ of Infante Luis Antonio of Spain, younger brother of King Charles III of Spain. There he flourished under royal patronage, until one day when the King expressed his disapproval at a passage in a new trio, and ordered Boccherini to change it. The composer, no doubt irritated with this intrusion into his art, doubled the passage instead, which led to his immediate dismissal. Then he accompanied Don Luis (the Infante) to Arenas de San Pedro, a little town in the Gredos Mountains; there, and in the nearest town of Candeleda, Boccherini wrote many of his most famous works.

Much of his chamber music follows models established by Joseph Haydn; however, Boccherini is often credited with improving Haydn's model of the string quartet by bringing the cello to prominence, whereas Haydn had frequently relegated it to an accompaniment role. Some sources for Boccherini's style are in the works of a famous Italian cellist, Giovanni Battista Cirri, who was born before Boccherini and before Haydn, and in Spanish popular music.

A virtuoso cellist, Boccherini often played violin repertoire on the cello, at pitch, a skill he developed by substituting for ailing violinists while touring. This supreme command of the instrument brought him much praise from his contemporaries (notably Pierre Baillot, Pierre Rode, and Bernhard Romberg), and is evident in the cello parts of his compositions (particularly in the quintets for two cellos, treated often as cello concertos with string quartet accompaniment).

He wrote a large amount of chamber music, including over one hundred string quintets for two violins, viola and two cellos (a type which he pioneered, in contrast with the then common scoring for two violins, two violas and one cello), a dozen guitar quintets, not all of which have survived, nearly a hundred string quartets, and a number of string trios and sonatas (including at least 19 for the cello). His orchestral music includes around 30 symphonies and 12 virtuoso cello concertos.

Boccherini's later patrons included the French ambassador to Spain, Lucien Bonaparte (1775–1840), as well as King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia (1744–1797), himself an amateur cellist, flautist, and avid supporter of the arts. Boccherini fell on hard times following the deaths of his Spanish patron (1785), his two wives (1785 and 1805), and his four daughters (1796, 1802 and 1804). He died in Madrid in 1805, survived by two sons. His bloodline continues to this day in Spain. His body lay buried in the Pontifical Basilica of St. Michael in Madrid until 1927, when Benito Mussolini had his remains repatriated and buried in the church of San Francesco in his native Lucca.


Recent Additions

L. Boccherini: Guitar-Quintet No. 9, IV.

L. Boccherini: Guitar-Quintet No. 9, IV. "La Ritirata di Madrid" - "Boccherini Ensemble"

L. Boccherini: Guitar-Quintet No. 4, III. Grave assai, Fandango -

L. Boccherini: Guitar-Quintet No. 4, III. Grave assai, Fandango - "Boccherini Ensemble"

Minuet, from the String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5 (G 275) - Luigi Boccherini

Minuet, from the String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5 (G 275) - Luigi Boccherini

Boccherini - Cello Concerto in D Major G483 - Mov. 3/3

Boccherini - Cello Concerto in D Major G483 - Mov. 3/3

Luigi Boccherini : Minuet from String Quintet op.11 n.5 for Orchestra - Francois Boucher

Luigi Boccherini : Minuet from String Quintet op.11 n.5 for Orchestra - Francois Boucher

Note: This page includes sections of revised and reformatted content from Wikipedia.org.