Luigi Boccherini  
Luigi Boccherini

Pencil drawing of Luigi Boccherini by Etienne Mazas
after a portrait bust
Luigi Boccherini, in full Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini (born February 19, 1743, Lucca [Italy]—died May 28, 1805, Madrid, Spain), Italian composer and cellist who influenced the development of the string quartet as a musical genre and who composed the first music for a quintet for strings, as well as a quintet for strings and piano. His approximately 500 works also include sacred music, symphonies, and concerti.

Early life
Luigi Rodolfo was the third child of a double-bass player, Leopoldo Boccherini, and the brother of Giovanni Gastoni Boccherini, a notable poet and dancer who wrote librettos for Antonio Salieri and Joseph Haydn. At an early age he was put under the care of the musical director of the local cathedral. When he reached the age of 13, he was sent to Rome to study with the renowned cellist Giovanni Battista Costanzi, musical director at Saint Peter’s Basilica. In Rome Boccherini was influenced by the polyphonic tradition (i.e., music with two or more interweaving melodic parts) stemming from the works of Giovanni da Palestrina and from the instrumental music of Arcangelo Corelli.

In 1757 Boccherini and his father were invited to play in the Imperial Theatre orchestra in Vienna. On his second journey to Vienna (1760), Boccherini, at 17, made his debut as a composer with his Six Trios for Two Violins and Cello, G 77–82. During his third stay in that city (1764), a public concert by Boccherini was enthusiastically received.

In August 1764 he obtained a permanent position in Lucca with the local church and theatre orchestras. He was in Lombardy in 1765, in the orchestra of Giovanni Battista Sammartini. Through his association with this Milanese composer, the 22-year-old Boccherini strengthened the new “conversational” style of the quartet: the cello’s line was now as important as the counterpoint (i.e., the intertwining of independent melodic lines) of the violin and viola. Boccherini put together the first public string quartet performance, with an extraordinary string quartet made up of outstanding Tuscan virtuosos, including himself, Pietro Nardini, Nardini’s pupil Filippo Manfredi, and Giuseppe Cambini.

After the death of his father (1766), Boccherini left Lucca for Paris, which was at that time particularly hospitable to Italian musicians. The French publishers Grangé, Venier, and Chevardière published Boccherini’s compositions of the previous years (Six String Quartets, G 159–164, and Six Duets for Two Violins, G 56–61, of 1761) as well as new ones (Six Trios for Two Violins and Cello, G 83–88, and Symphony in D Major, G 500, of 1766 and c. 1766?). From Boccherini’s contact with Madame Brillon de Jouy, the harpsichordist, came the Six Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin, G 25–30.

Later life
According to tradition, it was the Spanish ambassador to Paris who persuaded Boccherini to move (probably in 1768 or early 1769) to Madrid, where he began his long sojourn at the intrigue-ridden court of Charles III. The king’s brother, the infante Don Luis, conferred on him a yearly endowment of 30,000 reals as a cellist and composer. Boccherini first began writing string quintets during this period, and he also wrote his well-known Six String Quartets, G 177–182 (1772). At about the same time, he married Clementina Pelicho, with whom he had five children. In 1785, when both Clementina and the infante died, the king granted him a pension of 12,000 reals, after which he was free to accept the patronage of (among others) Frederick William II of Prussia, who was an amateur cellist and well acquainted with Boccherini’s music. To his prodigious instrumental production, Boccherini added vocal compositions: the Stabat Mater, G 532 (1781), the zarzuela La Clementina, G 540 (1786), with libretto by Ramon de la Cruz, and the Christmas Villancicos, G 539 (1783).

Boccherini married Joaquina Porreti in 1787. From 1787 to 1797 he may have been in Berlin, at a post provided by Frederick William II, although this position has not been adequately documented; it seems equally likely that he remained in Spain. In 1798 the new king of Prussia refused to extend Boccherini’s pension, the duchess of Osuna (another important source of income) moved to Paris, and Boccherini’s financial distress was aggravated by poor health. His life was further saddened by the death of two of his daughters in 1802 and the death of his second wife and a third daughter in 1804. Reportedly, he was by then living in near poverty, although his financial plight may have been exaggerated. Certainly, however, his own health suffered from his personal losses, and he died in 1805 of a long-standing respiratory ailment.

Yves Gérard’s Thematic, Bibliographical, and Critical Catalogue of the Works of Luigi Boccherini (1969) helped considerably to clarify long-standing confusions regarding the authenticity of Boccherini’s musical legacy; the uncertainties were occasioned in part by Boccherini’s lack of clarity in his own attempts to catalog his works and were compounded by the loss of much material during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). (Numbers preceded by “G” are the numbers assigned by Gérard according to type of composition, not chronological order.)

Boccherini was primarily a composer of chamber music, although his symphonies and concerti have considerable merit. He produced more than 100 quintets, more than 100 quartets, more than 50 trios, and more than 50 chamber works in other forms. Regrettably, his best-known work remains the Cello Concerto in B-flat, which was actually arranged from two Boccherini concerti and a sonata by the 19th-century composer and cellist Friedrich Grützmacher. Boccherini’s well-known minuet is from his String Quintet in E Major, G 275.

Perhaps because his most significant work consists of chamber music and symphonies, Boccherini has often been compared to Haydn, usually to his disadvantage. Like Vivaldi in relation to Bach, Boccherini is found wanting for the very qualities that established his fame as a composer: melodic fecundity, an emphasis on virtuosity (especially with respect to his own instrument, the cello), fairly undemanding forms, and a lack of the kind of thematic development that had become a hallmark of German music. Thus, whereas Haydn’s first movements usually centre upon the closely reasoned argument of their development sections, Boccherini’s depend on their thematic material and the way in which it is presented and re-presented. Yet his treatment of instrumental texture was richly varied, emerging as one of the most characteristic features of his music, particularly in his concertante writing, in which he obtained a wide variety of tone colours by writing high viola or cello parts (he was clearly influenced here by his own instrumental facility). His overriding concern was the production of smooth, elegant music; thus, his favourite expression marks were soave (soft), con grazia (with grace), and dolcissimo (very sweetly). It is in his gentle warmth and superlative elegance—often with a hint of melancholy just below the surface—that Boccherini’s most characteristic contribution may be found.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Luigi Boccherini playing the cello. Unknown artist (c. 1764–1767)

Bocchenni was born in the Italian town of Lucca into a family of talented artists and musicians. His father, a double-bass player, was impressed with his young son's abilities as a cellist. He sent him at the age of 13 to study in Rome with the Maestro di Cappella at St Peter's, and later accompanied him to the Royal Court in Vienna -the first of three visits before Boecherini was 21. In 1764 Boecherini visited the composer and organist Giovanni Battista Sammartini in Milan, and the same year returned to Lucca to play in the Theatre Orchestra. He composed intensively and formed a string quartet, one of whose members was his friend Filippo Manfredi. In 1766 he set off on a concert tour with Manfredi, and visited much of northern Italy before arriving in Fans in 1767. Here an outstandingly favourable reception at the Concert Spintuel gave Boecherini the opportunity to publish quartets, trios, and sonatas for keyboard and violin.

The eighteenth century was the era of technical virtuosity; what Corelli and his followers had done for the violin, Boecherini proceeded to do for the cello, with a series of ten cello concertos that stretched players' abilities to the full. Most of these are thought to have been written before he settled in Madrid in 1769 to concentrate on chamber music. The invitation to visit Spam came from the Spanish ambassador to Pans; Bocchenni soon became a composer at the Spanish court. Here he wrote a large amount of music suitable for court performance, mostly quartets and quintets.

This post was followed by a spell at the court of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, but after Wilhelm's death Bocchenni returned to Spam and from 1 800 he organized concerts and composed for Lucien Buonaparte, Napoleon's brother. Boccherini's popularity was such at one stage that his publisher m Paris issued quartets by other composers under Boccherini's name. Nevertheless, Boecherini died in poverty in Madrid in 1805.

Bocchenni wrote 18 symphonies, but his lyrical gifts show themselves most strongly in his 300 chamber works. He composed 93 string quintets, with two cellos in place of the customary cello and

double-bass contributing a vibrant and sensuous bass line. Nine guitar quintets also form a part of his chamber output, in which darting accents lend a bright and nervous freshness to music of exceptional clarity. Already endowed with plenty of Italian elegance and brio, the young man discovered in Vienna the beginnings of Romantic passion: the spirit of Sturm und Drang that adds so much drama to middle-period Haydn. His discovery of Spanish dance rhythms and the elaborate guitar music of Andalusia resulted in a distinctive and individual style that won the admiration of Gluck, as well as influencing Mozart and Haydn.


  Guitar quintet no. 4 "Fandango"  (Luigi Attademo)
Quintetto G448: Fandango

  Guitar quintet no. 7 (Luigi Attademo)
Quintetto G451: Allegro

Luigi Boccherini: Minuetto

Boccherini - Complete Cello Concertos, Julius Berger
Played on Boccherini's Stradivari-Violoncello.
The painting is "Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains" by Albert Bierstadt.

Cello Concerto No. 12 in E flat major
Cello Concerto No. 7 in G major, G. 480 - 16:00
Cello Concerto No. 2 in A major, G. 475 - 33:50
Cello Concerto No. 11 in C major, G. 573 - 46:44
Cello Concerto No. 6 in D major, G. 479 - 1:03:27
Cello Concerto No. 9 in B flat major, G. 482 - 1:20:51
Cello Concerto No. 4 in C major, G. 477 - 1:41:26
Cello Concerto No. 3 in D major, G. 476 - 1:58:42
Cello Concerto No. 5 in D major, G. 478 - 2:16:03
Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, G. 474 - 2:33:49
Cello Concerto No. 8 in C major, G. 481 - 2:53:47
Cello Concerto No. 10 in D major, G. 483 - 3:10:03

Boccherini: Complete Cello Sonatas
Cellists: Luigi Puxeddu, Federico Bracalente
The painting is "Fog over water" by Isaac Levitan.

Cello Sonata in C, G3
Cello Sonata in C minor, G2 10:47
Cello Sonata in F, G1 20:00
Cello Sonata in A, G4 29:47
Cello Sonata in G, G5 41:50
Cello Sonata in A, G4 bis - I. Allegro Moderato 49:45
Cello Sonata in C minor, G2 bis 54:06
Cello Sonata in C, G6 1:03:13
Cello Sonata in C, G7 1:14:39
Cello Sonata in B flat, G8 1:24:25
Cello Sonata in F, G9 1:36:16
Cello Sonata in E flat, G10 1:47:58
Cello Sonata in E flat, G11 1:56:25
Cello Sonata G12 2:06:29
Cello Sonata G13 2:17:44
Cello Sonata G14 2:27:40
Cello Sonata G15 2:39:31
Cello Sonata G16 2:50:20
Cello Sonata G17 2:58:46
Cello Sonata G18 3:10:46
Cello Sonata in B flat, G565 3:22:47
Cello Sonata in B flat, G565bis 3:37:07
Cello Sonata in E flat, G566 3:48:11
Cello Sonata in E flat 4:02:12
Cello Sonata in G 4:16:54
Cello Sonata in A 4:26:56

Boccherini - Complete Guitar Quintets
Ensamble: La Magnifica Comunità
Guitar: Eros Roselli

Guitar Quintette Nr.1 d-moll G.445
Guitar Quintette Nr.3 B-dur G.447 22:41
Guitar Quintette Nr.5 D-dur G.449 44:45
Guitar Quintette Nr.6 G-dur G.450 1:04:25
Guitar Quintette Nr.4 D-dur G.448 1:19:59
Guitar Quintette Nr.2 E-dur G.446 1:38:21
Guitar Quintette C-dur G.453 1:57:50

Luigi Boccherini Sonatas for Harp and Flute
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in B flat major - Op. 5 No. 1 - 01 - Allegro (07:27)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in B flat major - Op. 5 No. 1 - 02 - Adagio (04:34)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in B flat major - Op. 5 No. 1 - 03 - Presto (08:20)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in D major - Op. 5 No. 2 - 01 - Allegro (09:59)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in D major - Op. 5 No. 2 - 02 - Largo (04:12)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in D major - Op. 5 No. 2 - 03 - Tempo di minuetto (04:54)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in E major - Op. 5 No. 4 - 01 - Andante (08:33)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in E major - Op. 5 No. 4 - 02 - Allegro (11:18)
Luca Bacci, flute; Rossella Isola, harp - Sonata in E major - Op. 5 No. 4 - 03 - Rondo a tempo di minuetto (06:10)
Luigi Boccherini String Quintets Op.10, La Magnifica Comunita
Luigi Boccherini String Quintets Op.10, La Magnifica Comunita

Disc: 1
1. String Quintet in A major, G. 265 (Op. 10/1): Andantino 0:00-20:29
2. Largo
3. Minuetto Allegro, Trio
4. Allegro assai
5. String Quintet in E flat major, G. 266 (Op. 10/2): Amoroso 20:29-41:37
6. Allegro non tanto
7. Minuetto, Trio
8. Presto
9. String Quintet in C minor, G. 267 (Op. 10/3): Allegretto 41:37-1:04:59
10. Adagio non tanto
11. Minuetto, Trio
12. Presto
Disc: 2
1. String Quintet in C major, G. 268 (Op. 10/4): Adagio 1:04:59-1:24:27
2. Allegro e con forza
3. Adagio
4. Rondeau Allegro
5. String Quintet in E flat major, G. 269 (Op. 10/5): Non tanto sostenuto 1:24:27-1:44:20
6. Allegro assai
7. Allegretto
8. String Quintet in D major, G. 270 (Op. 10/6): Pastorale 1:44:20
9. Allegro Maestoso
10. Minuetto con variazioni

La Magnifica Comunita

Luigi Boccherini 3 Piano Quintets Op.57
1. Qnt Secondo in B Flat, G414: Allegretto Moderato 0:00
2. Qnt Secondo in B Flat, G414: Minuetto - Tempo Giusto
3. Qnt Secondo in B Flat, G414: Adagio
4. Qnt Secondo in B Flat, G414: Finale. Allegro Un Poco Vivace
5. Qnt Terzo in e, G415: Andante Lento Assai 24:59
6. Qnt Terzo in e, G415: Minuetto Non Presto, Con Grazia
7. Qnt Terzo in e, G415: Provensal: Allegro Vivo
8. Qnt Terzo in e, G415: Andante Lento
9. Qnt Terzo in e, G415: Provensal: Allegro Vivo E Pp Come Prima
10. Qnt Sesto in C, G418: Allegretto Lento 40:15
11. Qnt Sesto in C, G418: Presto
12. Qnt Sesto in C, G418: Variazoni Sulla Ritirata Notturna Di Madrid
13. Qnt Sesto in C, G418: Polonese: Allegretto Sostenuto

Patrick Cohen, Pianoforte Christopher Clark after Anton Walter
Quatuor Mosaiques

Boccherini - String Quintets with Contrabass (G337-G339 & G223)
Quintet in B flat Op 39.1 G337
Quintet in F Op 39.2 G338 - 14:12
Quintet in D Op 39.3 G339 - 32:47
Quartet in G major, Op.44.4 G223 ("La Tiranna") - 50:33
Bella Serenata - Luigi Boccherini Menuett
Menuett aus dem Quintett E-Dur, op. 11, Nr. 5, G 275,
vier Jahre später unter eigener Nummer als op. 13, Nr. 5.
für zwei Violinen, Viola und zwei Violoncelli veröffentlicht
Luigi Boccherini - Fandango
Boccherini, Fandango from Quintet in D Major G448. José Miguel Moreno, six double strings guitar, La Real Cámara, Emilio Moreno, violin, Enrico Gatti, violin, Wim Ten Have, viola, Wouter Möller, cello, Eligio Quintero, treble guitar, Luz Martín León-Tello, castanets. Six double strings guitar maded by Lourdes Uncilla and Jose MIguel Moreno.
Luigi Boccherini STABAT MATER - soprano Eva Dřízgová - Jirušová - conductor Paolo Gatto
STABAT MATER (prima versione 1781 "per una voce sola, due violini,viola, violoncello obbligato e c. basso")
soprano Eva Dřízgová - Jirušová
Janáček Chamber Orchestra
conductor Paolo Gatto 1997
Please visit the playlist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXK-W5...
1. Stabat Mater 00:00
2. Cujus animam 04:32
3. Quae moerebat 06:20
4. Quis est homo 09:03
5. Pro peccatis 10:36
6. Eja mater 14:13
7. Tui nati 21:17
8. Virgo virginum 25:30
9. Fac ut portem 30:39
10. Fac me plagis 33:29
11. Quando corpus 35:40
Luigi Boccherini Stabat Mater, Gemma Bertagnolli, Ensemble Aurora
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