Friday, 28 November 2014

MUSIC SATURDAY - FANDANGO


“If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.” - George Bernard Shaw

For Music Saturday, an extract from a longer work by Luigi Boccherini played by The Carmina Quartet (Matthias Enderle, violin 1, Susanne Frank, violin 2, Wendy Champney, viola & Stephan Goerner, violoncello). It is the fourth movement (“Fandango”) from Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet G. 448 in D Major, with Rolf Lislevand, guitar and Nina Corti, castanets.

Rodolfo Luigi Boccherini (February 19, 1743 – May 28, 1805) was an Italian classical era composer and cellist whose music retained a courtly and galante style while he matured somewhat away from the major European musical centres. Boccherini is most widely known for one particular minuet from his String Quintet in E, Op. 11, No. 5 (G 275), and the Cello Concerto in B flat major (G 482). The latter work was long known in the heavily altered version by German cellist and prolific arranger Friedrich Grützmacher, but has recently been restored to its original version.

Boccherini composed several guitar quintets including the “Fandango” which was influenced by Spanish music. His biographer Elisabeth Le Guin noted among Boccherini’s musical qualities “an astonishing repetitiveness, an affection for extended passages with fascinating textures but virtually no melodic line, an obsession with soft dynamics, a unique ear for sonority, and an unusually rich palette of introverted and mournful affects.” Boccherini’s overriding concern was the production of smooth, elegant music; thus, his favourite expression marks were soave (soft), con grazia (with grace), and dolcissimo (very sweetly).

It is in his gentle warmth and superlative elegance—often with a hint of melancholy just below the surface—that Boccherini's most characteristic contribution may be found. His treatment of instrumental texture is richly varied, emerging as one of the most characteristic features of his music, particularly in his concertante writing, in which he obtained a wide variety of tone colours by writing high viola or cello parts (he was clearly influenced here by his own instrumental facility).

The illustration above is “The Fandango” by Charles Christian Nahl (1873).

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