Philips - 1 LP - 9500 305 - (p) 1977
Philips DUO - 2 CDs - 438 377-2 - (c) 1993
Decca - 37 CDs - 478 8824 - (c) 2015

Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)

String Quartet in D minor, Op. 6 no. 1 (G 165) - (Op. 8 no. 1 in Boccherini's autograph catalogue)
18' 06"
- Allegro vivace
5' 40"

- Adagio
8' 50"

- Minuetto in Rondeau 3' 36"

String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 6 no. 3 (G 167) - (Op. 8 no. 3 in Boccherini's autograph catalogue)
18' 58"
- Largo 9' 06"

- Tempo di Minuetto 5' 46"

- Allegro 4' 06"

String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 58 no. 2 (G 243)
21' 19"
- Allegretto lento
7' 15"

- Menuetto: Allegro 4' 18"

- Larghetto 4' 55"

- Finale: Allegro vivo assai 4' 51"

- Paolo Borciani, Elisa Pegreffi, violino
- Piero Farulli, viola
- Franco Rossi, violoncello


Luogo e data di registrazione
Doopsgezinde Kerk, Amsterdam (Olanda) - 8-13 novembre 1976

Registrazione: live / studio

Producer / Engineer
Vittorio Negri | Willem van Leewen

Prima Edizione LP
Philips | 9500 305 | 1 LP | (p) 1977

Prima Edizione CD
Philips DUO | 438 377-2 | 2 CDs - 76' 42" - 71' 17" (1, 8-10) | (c) 1993 | ADD | (Op. 6 no. 1)
Decca |
478 8824 | 37 CDs - (18, 1-3, 4-6, 7-10) | (c) 2015


When Luigi Boccherini, working from Madrid, entered the international music world with his string quartets and particularly his string quintets, the Rococo was flourishing in Spain. The paintings of the young Goya, and especially his cartoons for the royal tapestry factory, show a lucid harmony of colours. In these works Goya painted the people, in Sunday clothes and at play. Human and social problems had not yet entered his canvases. Likewise, Boccherini's chamber music has none of the psychological depths which draw Mozart's quintets into the spiritual centre of his late chamber works. Boccherini's compositions represent entertainment music in the best sense of the word - entirely centred on virtuoso playing, dolcezza, and the most delicate colour and charm.
Luigi Boccherini, born in Lucca as the son of a double-bass player, passed his childhood in modest circumstances. At the age of 13 heappeared locally in public as a cellist, and after a period of study in Rome he returned to Lucca to play his instrument in the theatre orchestra. The young virtuoso did not stay for long within the marrow bounds of his native town. Concert tours with the violinist Filippino Manfredi took him to Vienna and Paris, where he played at the famous Concert Spirituel and published his first chamber works. At the suggestion of the Spanish ambassador in Paris, he travelled to Madrid in 1769 and subsequently became chamber composer and virtuoso to the Infante Don Luis.
Boccherini established a close connection with the cello-playing Prussian king Frederick William II, for whom he wrote a good deal of chamber music and from whom he received a salary for a number of years. There is also evidence that he visited Germany. nonetheless Boccherini remained in the end faithful to his adopted country, Spain where in later years, he was patronised for a time by Lucien Bonaparte, ambassador of the French Republic at the court of Madrid, and also by the Marquis Benavenue. Towards the end of his life, however, his reduced circumstances were only briefly relieved by rich and influential patrons, and although his name had been enthablished in the musical world, chiefly through Paris publicationes of his works, he died in Madrid in 1805 in poverty.
"As a poem, as a dream and a perfume" was how Boccherini's music appeared in 1805 to the French easthete Chnedoll. Soon, however, in the Romantic nineteenth century, is fell into oblivion, until in the 1870's the famous Minuet was rediscovered, and a hitherto unknown quintett movement inundated by a wawe of popularity. At the same time as Tchaikovsky was paying homage to Mozart in his "Rococo" Varitaions, and Camille Saint-Sans was declaring his love of the galant style in the minuet of his A minor Cello Concerto, people were discovering in Boccherini's Minuet (soon made widely accessible in countless transcriptions) a jewel of Rococo art. Some years later, in 1895, the Dresden cellist Friedrich Grtzmacher brought out his very free arrangement of the Cello Concerto in B flat, and for a long time Boccherini was generally know - apart from the Minuet - solely as the composer of this work. Only much later did musicians and their audiences become aware of the rich treasure which lay in the many string quartets and quintets (with two cellos).
The string quartets of Op. 6 (this according to Boccherini's own work catalogue - they are designated Op. 8 in the catalogue of Yves Grard, published in London in 1969) were dedicated to the Spanish Infante Don Luis and printed in Paris in 1769. The following year they appeared in London and finally probably in 1780, an Amsterdam. The young Boccherini would have been well satisfied with this reception of his chamber music.
Delicacy and sensitivity blend with elements of galant style in the quartets of Op. 6. Each has three movements, but the form and character of the movements and the sequence in which they occur are subject to no fixed norm. In the D major Quartet Op.6 No. 1, an Allegro vivace with a virtuoso first-violin part is followed by an affecting Adagio in D minor, and a graceful Rondeau Allegro in minuet character. In the E flat Quartet Op. 6 No. 3, there is an introductory Largo and the a Tempo di Minuetto and an Allegro. In Boccherini's Op. 6 dolce is the frequently encountered expression mark of a Rococo art. So too is the indication lezioso (daintly) over a passage in the first movement of the first quartet.
Three decades lie between the pubblication of Op. 6 and the six quartets of Op. 58, which were issued in Paris in 1799. In all that intervening time, Boccherini's early established quartet style underwent only very slight modifications. In op. 58, however, he follows a new path. Ludwig Finscher writing on string quartets in "Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart," traces the orchestral richness of sound, the emotional tension, and the tendency to extreme effects (semitone progressions, violent dynamic contrasts) to the influence of the music of the French Revolution on quartet style in general. The E flat Quartet, Op. 58 no. 2, confirms this total view of Op. 58 in the orchestral tonal style of many passages and the close justaposition of stark forte unisons and light textured piano figures. The minuet is agitated by sforzati on unaccented beats, and the closing Allegro vivo assai shows some leanings towards contrapuntal working
Hans Christoph Worbs