50. Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini [365 Composers for 2013]


19th February – Luigi Boccherini


Boccherini (February 19th 1743 – May 28th 1805) is our composer for 19th February, to mark the day of his birth.
Nationality: Italian
Lifespan: 62 years
Genre: Classical
Education: Rome, with Costanzi
Fame Ranking: 4

Boccherini was a Classical composer who is best known for his string quintets. The more common ensemble, the string quartet, comprises two violins, a viola and a cello. Boccherini boosted the bass by adding in a second cello part to create the string quintet,

Boccherini’s style is “Rococo”, which is characteristically playful and witty. He composed a great quantity of music, and was just seventeen when his first work was published. He travelled widely, touring from Rome to Vienna, Milan, Paris and then Madrid, and it was in Paris that Boccherini first met with resounding success. This led to a surge in creativity, culminating with the string quintets which he began to write in Madrid.

Boccherini’s personal life was tinged with tragedy however. He was married twice but both wives died – as did all of his daughters. After his own death, his music drifted into relative obscurity for many years. Then , in 1949, by chance, a complete first edition of his string quintets was discovered by a pair of string players in Paris. They formed a group called the “Boccherini Quintet” and set about performing and recording these lost works. This created something of a Boccherini revival which continued throughout the 20th century. In 2003 his “Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid” (String Quintet in C Major, Op. 30 No. 6) was used in the movie “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”, which is set during the Napoleonic Wars in 1805, the year Boccherini died.

Boccherini died in Madrid, but his remains were re-buried in Italy, in his home town of Lucca.

Here is Boccherini’s “Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid”:




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