Luigi Boccherini, classical music composer

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Luigi Boccherini


Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca, Italy on February 19, 1743. His father, a noted musician himself and the first double bassists to give solo concerts, gave Luigi his first lessons on the cello at the age of five. The young Boccherini adapted quickly to the instrument. At the age of nine, he continued his studies with Abbé Vanucci, music director of the cathedral at San Martino. At his public debut, he was lauded for his skill. Having nothing more to learn from Vanucci, Luigi was sent to Rome by his father to further train with G. B. Constanzi, music director of St. Peter's Bascilica. His time in Rome, however, was short. After only one year, Luigi and his father travelled to Vienna where they were employed by the Imperial Theatre Orchestra. At the age of seventeen, Luigi's first compositions appeared in print.

In 1765, Boccherini and his father moved again, this time to Milan. Despite the prospects the city held for talented musicians, Boccherini suffered dual blows within a relatively short time. Ill health set in that would trouble him for the remainder of his life; the following year, his father died. However, Boccherini quickly rebounded. He formed a professional relationship with the violinist Filippo Manfredi and the two toured Italy and France beginning in 1767. Two years later, they travelled to Spain where Boccherini would enjoy his greatest success.

This comfortable period in Boccherini's life came to a sudden end in 1785 with the death of his patron, Archbishop Don Luis, leaving the composer unemployed. He managed to secure a pension from King Charles, but his future looked dim. Yet, the following year his fortunes became brighter when he was employed by Friedrich Wilhelm, soon-to-be King of Prussia, an amateur cellist himself, and patron of the arts. By 1803, however, Boccherini's fortunes had once again fallen into despair. Besides financial hardships, both of his daughters passed away within days of each other. In 1804, his wife and third daughter also died. The following year, Boccherini passed away on May 28.

Boccherini was hailed as a cello virtuoso of the highest caliber. As a composer, he followed mostly the models established by Joseph Haydn. He composed at a prolific rate, producing a large amount of chamber music from solo sonatas to string quintets, as well as roughly thirty symphonies and twelve cello concertos. He pioneered the string quintet consisting of two cellos as opposed to the then popular formula of an additional viola, as well as giving more prominence to the cello in the string quartet. After his death, Boccherini's music fell into neglect but a renewed interest in his music has been underway since the latter half of the 20th century.

Luigi Boccherini
(February 19, 1743 – May 28, 1805).  Italian composer, son of an Italian bass-player, was born at Lucca, and studied at Rome, where he became a fine cellist, and soon began to compose. He returned to Lucca, where for some years he was prominent as a player, and there he produced two oratorios and an opera. He toured in Europe, and in 1768 was received in Paris by Gossec and his circle with great enthusiasm, his instrumental pieces being highly applauded; and from 1769 to 1785 he held the post of "composer and virtuoso" to the King of Spain's brother, the infante Luis, at Madrid. He afterwards became "chamber-composer" to King Frederick William II. of Prussia, until 1797, when he returned to Spain. He died at Madrid on the 28th of May 1805.

Composer Title Date Action
Luigi Boccherini Minuet 02/17/2010 Play Add to playlist
Luigi Boccherini Sonata No. 17 in C Major 01/18/2012 Play Add to playlist
Luigi Boccherini Cello Concerto No. 9 in B flat Major, G.482 02/17/2013 Play Add to playlist
Luigi Boccherini Sonata No. 6 in A Major 03/29/2013 Play Add to playlist
Luigi Boccherini Sonata No. 6 for Cello in A 09/17/2013 Play Add to playlist
Luigi Boccherini String Quintet in C major, Op. 25 No. 4 02/15/2014 Play Add to playlist