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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Cellist Reiner Hochmuth plays Boccherini and Tchaikovsky

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This week, I have retained four works downloaded years ago off the original MP3.COM, featuring cellist Reiner Hochmuth and two East-Europpean orchestras. Mr. Hochmuth was featured a few years back in performances of the Haydn cello concertos.

Born in 1743 in Lucca, Italy, Luigi Boccherini began studying the cello at an early age with his father, a double-bass player who had also some knowledge of the cello. At thirteen he was sent to Rome where the well-known cellist G. B. Costanzi (1704-1778) taught him cello and the basics of composition. Barely sixteen he was already solo cellist at the Imperial Theater in Vienna, where he met Gluck, who became his ardent supporter. Germaine de Rothschild, in her biography of Boccherini, says that early in 1764 he gave a concert in Vienna at which, with the assistance of his father, Leopoldo, he performed his compositions for one or two cellos. This concert ranks him among the "Virtuosi of the Music-Akademia."

Travelling through Europe we find him going from Italy to Austria, France and then Madrid where Boccherini was to live until his death in 1805. In Spain he was first at the service of infant Don Luis, brother of King Charles III. From 1785, while still in Spain, he worked for the King of Prussia, Frederic-Wilhelm II, an amateur cellist who had composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven write works for him. After Frederic-Wilhelm's death Boccherini found protection in the person of Lucien Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon. But the last years of his life were difficult and he died in near poverty.

The abundant output of the greatest Italian composer of instrumental music of his generation includes 113 quintets with two cellos (in essence, concerti for cello with string quartet accompaniment, a form invented by him), 91 quartets, of which he was one of the first initiators, trios, and works for various combinations of instruments. His production also includes an opera, 21 symphonies, a remarkable Stabat Mater and 12 concertos for cello and orchestra, including the two in D Major I retained (G. 476 and 478).

Tchaikovsky’s concertante output includes most notably his Rococo variations, but also a trio of shorter works. Among them is a cello and orchestra version of the Andante Cantabile movement of his First String Quartet, and the two works I programmed today.

The Pezzo capriccioso in B minor, was Tchaikovsky's second composition for cello and orchestra, written in August 1887 and dedicated to Russian cellist and composer Anatoly Brandukov (1856–1930), who once studied harmony under Tchaikovsky at the Moscow Conservatory . In the late 1880s the composer also made the above-mentioned special arrangements of the Andante cantabile, and the Nocturne — No. 4 of the Six Pieces, Op. 19 — for Brandukov to perform as soloist in their joint concerts.

Happy Listening!

All works feature Reiner Hochmuth, solo cellist

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)
Cello Concerto in D Major, G. 476
Cello Concerto in D Major, G. 478
(doubtful, possible arrangement of his Cello Concerto in C Major, G. 477)
Kammerorchester Dall'Arco
Jack Martin Handler, conducting

Pyotr Ilich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Pezzo capriccioso, op. 62 (TH 62)
Nocturne, TH 64
Polska Filharmonia Kameralna
Wojciech Rajski, conducting

Download - MP3.COM, 2002

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