Personalities | Luigi Boccherini | Classical Era | Classical
(Loo-e’-ge Bok-ker-e’-ne) 1743–1805
The son of a musician in Lucca, Boccherini was trained by his father and in Rome as a composer and cellist. He made his debut at the age of 13 and undertook several journeys to play in Vienna. In 1766 he went on a concert tour which took him to Paris and Madrid, where he was offered a post in the service of the Infante. He spent the rest of his life in Spain, working for various patrons, also composing for Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, to whom he posted many chamber works. Boccherini wrote symphonies, cello concertos (which he originally played himself) and much chamber music, including over a hundred string quintets (mostly with two cellos) and almost as many quartets and trios. He favoured a gentle, rather melancholy manner, laying much stress on highly decorative lines, colourful, dynamic textures and a suave, graceful melodic style; he sometimes experimented with cyclic forms, ingeniously interleaving sections of movements.
Two Cello Concertos; Three Cello Sonatas, Steven Isserlis, Maggie Cole, Ostrobothnian CO (cond) Juha Kangas (Virgin/Erato)
The ‘Boccherini Minuet’ – an extract from one of Boccherini’s string quintets – is a very familiar tune. It was used in the film The Lavender Hill Mob, where the crooks deceive their landlady into thinking they are innocently and delicately playing chamber music by putting on a record of the minuet.
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