77. Jean-Baptiste Breval [365 Composers for 2013]


18th March – Jean-Baptiste Breval


Breval (November 6th 1753 – March 18th 1823) is our composer for 18th March, to mark the day of his death.
Nationality: French
Lifespan: 69 years
Genre: Romantic
Education: with Cupis and Berteau
Fame Ranking: 5

Paris born Breval is probably only really known amongst cellists, since he was foremost a composer of cello music. His best known piece is a Cello Sonata in C major (Op.40 no.1), much loved by cello teachers everywhere. The piece has also been arranged for other orchestral instruments including the viola and bass clarinet. Apart from being a composer of cello music, Breval was also a virtuoso and teacher of the instrument.

Breval also played in a theatre orchestra at Theatre Feydeau, and was involved with the Paris Opera, and wrote several comic operas, but it is his cello music which endures, along side an important teaching volume, his1804 “Traite de violoncelle”. This was a step-by-step textbook on playing the cello. It was, however, criticized for not including particularly advanced techniques.

Here is Breval’s Cello Sonata in C major:


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