Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca, Italy, on February 19th,
1743 . He was taught music at a young age by his father, who was a
professional bass player. Boccherini proved to be an extremely
skilled pupil, and in 1757 he was sent to Rome to perfect his
technique under expert instruction. In Rome he studied under
Maestro di Cappella at St. Peters. He later visited Vienna with
this man three times before he had turned twenty-one. He returned
to Lucca at that age and formed a string quartet with his friend
Filippo Manfredi. He composed several sonatas for the two to play,
and they were called all over France to tour.
They arrived in Paris in 1767, here he was allowed to publicize his trios, quartets and other pieces to a sizable audience. He then proceeded to compose ten cello concertos to recreate the instrument in the new age of music. He stretched what was previously thought as the limitations of playing the cello, but upon settling in Madrid from an invitation of the ambassador, he began to concentrate of composing pieces for the string quartet and quintet.
He then went to write for Prince Wilhelm of Prussia for a short
time. Upon his return to Spain in 1800, he began to compose several
commissioned pieces for Lucien Buonparte, Napoleon's brother. His
fame was cemented through Europe, and even his publisher back in
Paris released music of other's under his name. Nonetheless,
Boccherini died a poor man in Madrid in 1805.
Boccherini's pieces made him famous. His intricate melodies and
amusing combinations of various instruments make his music
different and enjoyable. He revolutionized music for the cello
during his lifetime. He wrote 93 quintets with an extra cello
rather than a bass. He also had a peculiar interest in the guitar
during his time. He wrote nine guitar quintets using the contrast
in sounds to exploit the lines of melody. In total, he wrote
eighteen symphonies, and over 300 chamber pieces. His music was not
famous after his death until around 1850 where the lines of melody
began to appeal to the culturally aware in Vienna.
His Famous Compositions
His notable pieces include his Cello Concertos in G and B-Flat.
His Symphony in D Major is also very good. Two of his numerous
string quartets are especially listened to. They are String Quartet
in A Major and String Quartet in G Major. His Guitar Quintet in C
Major is very highly recommended and His single Octet in G Major
rounds out the group. However his most famous piece is thought to
be the Minuet which is actually the minuet from his String Quintet
in E-major, Opus 13.
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