Author Topic: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!  (Read 26145 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« on: December 09, 2008, 10:39:31 AM »
Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) - another outstanding Italian composer w/o a thread, but one who has peaked some interest lately; now, as I remember we did have a rather lengthy discussion dedicated to him in the old forum, so hopefully a new thread will be of interest, too!  :D

Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca in 1743 (pretty much between the birth dates of Haydn & Mozart); he became a virtuoso on the cello travelling early in his career (even as a teenager) throughout much of western/central Europe, and ending up in Spain.  A short but excellent biography can be found HERE.

He started to compose in his late teens; first works were String Trios; as part of a professionally performing 'quartet', Boccherini wrote his first String Quartets in 1761 when he was not yet 20 y/o - Haydn apparently studied these works and used them as 'models' for some of his own early compositions in this genre, raising the question of 'who' was the father of the early classical SQ?

Boccherini was an amazingly prolific composer, esp. of chamber works of all combinations; Yves Gerard is responsible for cataloging his works, which are thus preceded by the letter 'G.' - a well organized catalog is located HERE with a listing of well over 500 G. compositions; just as an example, he wrote over 90 String Quartets and more than 150 String Quintets!

Last year, I was able to obtain from an interlibrary loan, the book Luigi Boccherini: His Life and Work (1965) by Germaine de Rothschild, and likely put some posts in the thread on the old forum - worth a search if interested in this composer - his life ended rather sadly w/ him in near poverty and after the loss of several wives & daughters.

Tonight, I'll take a look at my LB collection, probably have over 3 dozen discs - plenty of wonderful music; but for now please make comments & recommendations -  :)


 

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2008, 04:23:40 PM »
Well, just getting back online for the evening - thought that I'd have a dozen posts by now for 'ole Luigi!  ;) ;D

So, I'll start off w/ some recommendations w/ an emphasis on chamber works, my favorite genre of Boccherini:

String Quintets, Op. 56 & 57 w/ Patrick Cohen & Quatuor Mosaiques - this is a 2-CD set (one of those CDs was discussed in the 'listening thread' today w/ different cover art) - excellent bargain & performances.

Cello Sonatas & Fugues w/ Anner Bylsma, Kenneth Slowik, & Bov van Asperen - cover art showing the composer (use to be Gurn's avatar!).

Guitar Quintets w/ Pepe Romero & Acad St. Martin in the Fields Cham Ensemble - these are guitar transcriptions of 'String Quintets' - nice if you into chamber guitar and shows the 'Spanish' influences on LB's composing!

Cello Concertos - 7 CD box of multiple composers, but a great bargain!  Three discs are Boccherini's cello concertos, well reviewed; of course, there are plenty of other performances available of these works!

Well, just starter suggestions -  :D

 

 

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9758
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2008, 05:01:18 PM »
I am quite familiar with his symphonies (which are unambitious and enjoyable) and cello concerti (due to the scant amount of music in this field, essential, but it's great music as well), but am not so familiar with the quartets. Are there any stand out recordings?

From the range of music I have heard by him, he is one of the leading figures of the period, with an above average gift for melody and reasonably complex/engaging writing. His music for guitar especially seems to find him at his best.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2008, 05:54:20 PM »
I am quite familiar with his symphonies (which are unambitious and enjoyable) and cello concerti (due to the scant amount of music in this field, essential, but it's great music as well), but am not so familiar with the quartets. Are there any stand out recordings?

From the range of music I have heard by him, he is one of the leading figures of the period, with an above average gift for melody and reasonably complex/engaging writing. His music for guitar especially seems to find him at his best.

Hello Sara - although I probably have about 4 discs of Boccherini's Symphonies, I still enjoy his chamber works much more; of course, the exception for orchestral works are the Cello Concertos; I probably have a number of interpretations (Hugh on Naxos; du Pre in some), but the Brilliant Box shown in the previous post has 3 CDs of all 12 of his works in this format - excellent review on MusicWeb; plus for the cost of admission, the same works by CPE Bach, Haydn, & Leo are included - I've 'pushed' this box set in the listening thread but w/o much response; however, if you like the cello, this is a great bargain!

Although his Quartet & Quintet output number about 250 TOTAL WORKS(!), the Quintets seemed to have received the most attention (and, as mentioned the Guitar Quintets are transcriptions and delightful!) - actually, I have only 2 discs of the Quartets at the moment; one disc is from the fabulous Capriccio 10-CD box set w/ SQs (G 177, 194, 213, & 248) - I'll comment more on this great bargain (about $35 on the Amazon Marketplace) unless Harry beats me to the discussion!  ;)

But, another fascinating set is from CPO - String Quartets, Op. 2, Nos. 1-6 w/ Sonare Quartett - these are really of 'historic' interest alluded to in the opening post; these were written in 1761 (he was still a teenager and in a travelling 'professional' string quartet - maybe the FIRST in existence) - Haydn was pretty much doing his early divertimenti, so Boccherini's works here were likely the beginning of this 'classical' genre - of course, many may argue, but Luigi was there @ the beginning! Dave  :)

 

Offline Lethevich

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9758
  • I spilled my drink!
  • Currently Listening to:
    Rihm, Bialas, Ballif, Schumann, Schubert
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2008, 06:06:03 PM »
Scarily under-recorded! The CPO sounds like a must-buy, and checking Amazon, Naxos seems to have decently recorded a few of the later ones.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

Offline Gurn Blanston

  • Haydn: that genius of vulgar music who induces an inordinate thirst for beer - Mily Balakirev (1860)
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 31348
  • Support your local Haydn Society
    • Gurn's Haydn Blog
  • Location: Texas, where else?
  • Currently Listening to:
    Haydn, I reckon.
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2008, 06:17:54 PM »
I'm also very partial to Boccherini's chamber works. In addition to Dave's recommendations, I would add that whenever you can find any disks by Ensemble 415, such as this one:



you should pick them up. In addition, I have the String Sextets Op 23, and one called "The Last String Trios". They are all first class. Some other nice choices are the Op 14 string trios, the Op 5 sonatas for violin and fortepiano (the first of their kind written specifically for fortepiano rather than harpsichord (1766)), and especially the piano quintets. A particularly nice recording of these is done by the Quatuor Mosaiques with Cohen on fortepiano. IIRC, they are adaptations of the guitar quintets, done by Boccherini himself. I am only starting in on the quartets and quintets. Collecting them all will be a major accomplishment! :)

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Wolfgang Schneiderhan (Violin) / Wilhelm Kempff (Piano) - Bia 165 Op 12 Piano & Violin sonatas (3) #1 in D 1st mvmt -  Allegro con brio
Help support GMG by purchasing from Amazon using this link

Visit my Haydn blog: HaydnSeek

Follow me on Twitter @GurnBlanston106

Offline Solitary Wanderer

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3129
  • 'She walks in beauty...like the night' ~ Byron
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2008, 06:34:26 PM »
I'm new to his music and interested to hear more, so I ordered this a couple of weeks ago:



Looking forward to receiving it  :)
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2008, 07:04:14 PM »
I'm new to his music and interested to hear more, so I ordered this a couple of weeks ago:



Looking forward to receiving it  :)

Chris - just out of curiosity, I checked my 4-5 discs of String Quintets, and don't own the ones on this CD you ordered (and by a favorite group of mine!) - of course w/ over 150 quintets composed by LB, many discs would be needed to complete that group of works - please let us know your impressions (the reviews by the Amazonians were outstanding) - might need to add yet another to my list!  :)

BTW, for those not familiar w/ Boccherini's String Quintets, he typically used two cellos giving a much more deeper & mellow sound at least to my ears - really worth listening to some of these works if you like the cello -  :D

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2008, 07:46:16 PM »
A perfect Boccherini Sampler for $35 on the Amazon Marketplace - 10 CDs total - an absolute steal!  ;D

Like many Baroque & Classical music composers, there is SO MUCH available that choices for sampling their music is not easy; however, for LB, there is an inexpensive option that will introduce you to many aspects of his compositions, and at a price of less than $4 per disc!

Shown below is a box set (actually 10 discs in separate jewel boxes) worth consideration if you want a cheap & varied introduction of Luigi's music - check MusicWeb HERE for a listing of the works included and a generally superlative review; these discs include String Sextets, String Quartets, String Quintets, Oboe Quintets, Divertimenti, Symphonies, and Guitar Quintets, et al - nearly all of these are excellent performances; the main reservation are the Guitar Quintets, could be better (and hence my recommendation of the bargain 2-CD set of Pepe Romero in an earlier post) - if you're willing to 'jump in' on this composer, this is indeed a GOOD start -  :)


Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2008, 08:24:54 AM »
Well, since little action is being seen in this thread, let me add a 'stimulus package':

Cello Quintets w/ Lester & the Vanbrugh Quartet; 3 on the disc, G275, G348, & G351.

Cello Quintets - 2 w/ the same performers above; 4 included, G310, G349, G350, & G353.

Flute Quintets, Op. 19 w/ Auser Musici (Carlo Ipata, flute); G425 through G430.

Flute Quintets, Op. 55 w/ Auryn Quartett (Michael Faust, flute); G431 through G436.

Just including the Gerard numbers since compilations often mix these works together, so check your discs -  :D

 

 

Offline Solitary Wanderer

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3129
  • 'She walks in beauty...like the night' ~ Byron
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2008, 12:34:59 PM »
As a result of my recent Hornblower/Master and Commander viewing session, I was interested in some of the music played during M&C so I had a look at the obligatory soundtrack which looked too 'bitsy' for my taste. However my Amazon search also threw up this title whose samples I enjoyed:



This looks like a preferable option [there's two volumes in the series], but I don't particularly like compilations so I investigated the featured composers like Boccherini, Locatelli and Leclair. There's alot of very interesting looking titles by these composers.

So I bought the Boccherini string quintets disc I mentioned in an earlier post because it was recommended in my of my classical music guides.

It arrived yesterday so I'm on my second listen. It's elegant, sophisticated and utterly charming music of joy and good spirit.

The minuetto from the Quintet in E major is an instantly recognizable famous piece.

I'm enjoying this late baroque era music at the moment, especially as background music as it sets a perfectly relaxed, yet alert tone to the room.

I will explore more  :)
'I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.' ~ Emily Bronte

Offline Daverz

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4823
  • You can't fool me, it's turtles all the way down!
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2008, 02:11:34 PM »
As a result of my recent Hornblower/Master and Commander viewing session, I was interested in some of the music played during M&C

The Boccherini used in M&C is an arrangement of a movement of the Quintet for 2 Violins, Viola and 2 Cellos in C major, Op. 30 no 6/G 324 "Musica notturna di Madrid". 

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Drilldown?name_id1=1232&name_role1=1&genre=78&bcorder=19&comp_id=58856

There's also a recording in the big Capriccio Boccherini box. 

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//CC49463.htm

My favorite is the Boccherini Quartet on Ensayo, but I haven't heard the Karajan.  :D

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2008, 03:31:22 PM »

........So I bought the Boccherini string quintets disc I mentioned in an earlier post because it was recommended in my of my classical music guides.

It arrived yesterday so I'm on my second listen. It's elegant, sophisticated and utterly charming music of joy and good spirit........


Chris - thanks for your comments - the bolded statement above is an oft description of the compositions of Boccherini - glad that you're enjoying exploring his music - please reply back your discoveries - Dave  :)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 03:35:29 PM by SonicMan »

Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2008, 04:28:12 PM »
Well, for those who would like to explore the chamber works written by Boccherini for keyboard, there are plenty of options depending on 'how many' instruments in the ensemble are wanted?

This afternoon I was listening to the Tactus recording below - basically Fortepiano/Violin Sonatas w/ Franco Angeleri & Enrico Gatti - these works were written in 1768 when Luigi was visiting London in his mid-20s - these works can be considered the 'prototype' of the many future sonatas for these two instruments to appear in later years; Boccherini did not write any more of these 2-instrument works (although from the Gerard catalog, a number of variations were offered by others - I have no experience w/ the latter).

Fortunately, Boccherini wrote many other keyboard works for a larger grouping of instruments; below are just couple of more considerations for those interested -  :)

NOTE: The Brilliant Box (4-CDs) includes the 3 works on one of the discs in the Astree 2-CD set; these are on the fortepiano!  :D



 

Offline Captain Flint

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Mille sabords !
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2008, 04:06:59 PM »
Hi everyone
Thanks for the interesting posts on Boccherini.

I'm not a huge Boccherini fan, and it would be daring to pair with anyone more knowledgeable in his works, but I would just like to leave a suggestion here.



Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall (dir.)
Boccherini: Fandango, Sinfonie & La Musica Notturna di Madrid

Jordi Savall's album has been an enjoyable companion these last years and I would strongly suggest it to anyone interested in Boccherini's music.

And since SonicMan mentioned his keyboard pieces, let's not forget the arrangements for two harpsichords of the Fandango (from Quintetto IV in D major), recorded by Andreas Staier (with Christine Schornsheim) and William Christie (with Christophe Rousset)

   

Andreas Staier
Soler, et alii: Variaciones del Fandango Español




William Christie & Christophe Rousset
Boccherini: Quatuors pour deux clavecins; Fandango


Offline SonicMan46

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 12168
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2008, 05:17:22 PM »
Hi everyone
Thanks for the interesting posts on Boccherini.

I'm not a huge Boccherini fan, and it would be daring to pair with anyone more knowledgeable in his works, but I would just like to leave a suggestion here.



Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall (dir.)
Boccherini: Fandango, Sinfonie & La Musica Notturna di Madrid............

Captain Flint - hey, thanks for the post & the recommendations - I'm a HUGE Jordi Savall fan and own many of his recordings (and even saw him in concert many years ago) - the CD shown includes a combination of quintets & symphonies, an ideal introduction to Boccherini and for those who may just want a few discs of his music, a good choice!

As mentioned in one my previous posts, look carefully at what is included on the discs that you own & on those you might be planning to purchase - check out those Gerard numbers, quite easy to duplicate recordings, e.g. I already own the Savall recordings on other CDs but would still love to hear Jordi's interpretations!  :D

Now, I do not have any of his 'double' keyboard works @ the moment, so these would certainly be of interest - thanks again & enjoy the GMG Forum!  :)

Offline Ciel_Rouge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 273
  • Location: Baltic Sea
  • Currently Listening to:
    Brahms, Gluck
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2009, 11:26:46 AM »
I discovered Boccherini a while ago. It is a mixture of classical and Spanish music, very surprising and refreshing indeed :)

However, I stumbled upon a fact that puzzles me.

Here is Boccherini's "Sinfonia op. 12 N°4 in D minor for two oboes, two horns, strings and continuo: Allegro assai con moto":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T46-P...D8110B&index=2

And here is Gluck's "Danza degli spettri e delle furie - Dance of the spectres and the furies: Allegro non troppo":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcwiL7yf3Hw

Don't you have the impression that they sound... well... identical? To make things even more interesting, there is a record which features BOTH pieces:

http://www.andante.com/naive/catalog...iProductID=836

Does anyone have any idea why those pieces by two different composers sound practically the same? Gluck lived in the same period as Boccherini - maybe they contacted each other and Gluck used it with permission?

Offline Que

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 15532
  • "One HIP dude"
  • Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2009, 01:55:32 PM »
I discovered Boccherini a while ago. It is a mixture of classical and Spanish music, very surprising and refreshing indeed :)

However, I stumbled upon a fact that puzzles me.

Please check your urls, the 1st and the last are incorrect!

I can confirm that the music in the 2nd sample is from Gluck's "Don Juan", can't imagine Boccherini writing something like that.

Q
À chacun son goût.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2009, 05:42:00 PM »
Haydn left his last quartet unfinished in 1803.
Boccherini left his last quartet unfinished in 1804!

His quartet output is head to head with Haydn all the way from 1762-1804!  Methinks Haydn's been getting all the credit.

Not having yet heard any Boccherini quartets, and questioning myself why I'm just not partial to Haydn quartets after Op.20, and offering that I'm a "minor key" kind of guy in this rep...is Bocch. prone to the minor key?  I remember the one Haydn that I really liked was Op.20, in f minor.  I'm wondering if that was the Bocch. influence?

At least, I see that he chooses minor keys often, but does he go for "plagent melancoly"?  Maybe it's that Haydn seems to "formal" to me?

Bulldog

  • Guest
Re: Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)!
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2009, 05:59:29 PM »
Haydn left his last quartet unfinished in 1803.
Boccherini left his last quartet unfinished in 1804!

His quartet output is head to head with Haydn all the way from 1762-1804!  Methinks Haydn's been getting all the credit.

Not having yet heard any Boccherini quartets, and questioning myself why I'm just not partial to Haydn quartets after Op.20, and offering that I'm a "minor key" kind of guy in this rep...is Bocch. prone to the minor key? 

Not really.  Out of about 40 string quartets that I'm aware of, only 8 are in a minor key.