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That correspondence led to an examination of the manuscript of the six quintets with guitar by Luigi Boccherini in the library of Congress. The entire affair was described in my book on the subject which I published in At the time, I sent a copy of the book to Mr. His response was most enthusiastic. He fully agreed with my conclusions and congratulated me on a brilliant research, saying: Here are some of the reviews that were published soon after the book came out: Since its publication inthis book has become the standard text on the Boccherini guitar quintets.

According to the OCLC data base, it has been acquired by 81 research libraries in the US and England, including some of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning. Several hundred copies of the book are in private hands all over the world. Actually, the very first time the book, and my work, has been mentioned in the liner notes of a recording of the quintets, was in the recording of the six quintets from the Washington manuscript by Jean-Pierre Jumez and the Bulgarian Dimov quartet.

Note 2 Naturally, the liner notes were written by Mr. I do not mean to suggest that a book that was published 24 years ago, is not without faults. Perhaps its greatest fault was that at the time, I did not know as much about the subject as I do today, and that many of the questions I left dangling in the book have not been yet answered, not by me and not by any other scholar. At the same time, the basic premise of the book remains unchallenged.

All of this is to simply say that the subject of Boccherini’s guitar quintets has been a major part of my occupation for the last 25 years, and that I do know something about the subject. Edwards, On Mon, 07 Feb I was not a member of the list at the time, but only reading the traffic on it on the Archive. Much of the discussion there was outside my frame of interest, or things that have been hashed and rehashed many times before.

But this caught my eye and I subscribed to the list. I agree with Mr. Edwards that a double strung guitar was the more common instrument in Spain at the time Boccherini lived there, and I have written on this subject extensively. For example, in my article on the History of Spanish guitar methods.

I also agree with him that this is an area which deserves exploration. What got my attention was the speculation that probably the quintets were played originally on a double strung guitar. As far as I know, there is no evidence that these quintets were ever performed in Spain during Boccherini’s life time, or even after.

So the following day I posted this message: And then the proverbial govno hit the vintelator. My long time antagonist Roman Turovsky, a man who prides himself on not owning a guitar, and greatly disliking guitar music, challenged me on the issue of these quintets’ first performance: Of course I knew exactly what he was referring to, but I was interested in finding out if his knowledge of the subject is based on a direct reading of the available sources or on some third hand information.


I am not sure how the quotation of a letter, without giving the precise source from which it was taken shows that the writer does not deserve to be called a “scum-sucker. Not exactly in my limited vocabulary of English language obscenities. But if I didn’t use that appellation in regard to Roman Turovsky, perhaps I should have, since obviously he did not pick up this quote from any primary or secondary source, but most probably from some liner notes to a CD.

Guitar Quintet in D major, G.448 (Boccherini, Luigi)

Needless to say, I am known to be fond of examining callipygian objects, usually belonging to members of the female persuasion, whether they have pimples on them or not. So I posted this enquiry on my blog:. Transcribed from earlier cello and piano quintets to accommodate a guitar-playing marquis, these two quintets Boccherini composed six in this untitled series seamlessly cobble together movements from different compositions.

An energetic fandango—replete with castanets—caps the D-major quintet and scene-painting variations on a military march close the C major. Now that I have read them, I am not sure if Mr. The reason for this suspicion is exactly the spelling of the name of the Marquis. In these liner notes it appears, as Roman Turovsky reported, as Benavente, with e at the end. I do not know if Mr. But certainly he could not in all consciousness forget his own writing on this very subject.

The similarity of the name of Benavent or Benavente with that of the Benavente-Osuna has moreover created confusion in the minds of various biographers of Boccherini from Louis Picquot to Germaine de Rothchild. It is only recently that the distinction has been made between the comtesse duchesse de Benavente, her husband and a certain marquis de Benavent whose family has nothing boccnerini sic with the powerful ducal dynasty of the Benavente-Osuna.

Madrid, Teodor, 9 vols. In my estimation, the incorrect spelling in the liner notes cannot be laid at the feet of the nominal author, but rather at the feet of the producer bocherini typesetter. And here comes the clincher: The letter is a sales pitch by Boccherini for his piano quintets, imploring the publisher Pleyel to gkitar them.

It contains such phrases as ” I am anxious that you should publish the Piano-forte work at the earliest possible date.

Boccherini – Guitar Quintets

I am anxious that you should publish the piano work exactly qunitets I have written it This text is of course a translation from an original letter, presumably in French, which is reported to be housed in the Pleyel Archives. In the French version of the liner notes to the CD, the quotation is given in French, but there is no way to know gguitar this is the same text as it appears in the original.

Either way, it is clear that the letter does not offer Pleyel the guitar transcriptions, but rather the original piano quintets.

The mention of the guitar quintets is made here as an aside to impress upon Pleyel Boccherini’s relations with wealthy patrons. It also does not say specifically that the music performed at the house of the Marquis on that occasion were in fact the guitar quintets.

Such assumptions are simply boccherjni tenable. There is another reason why the CD in question does not represent the music as it was first conceived by Luigi Boccherini.

The two quintets recorded are G. There are currently 3 available editions of G. They are all different in some very important aspects. The version used on the record is the Suvini-Zerboni one.

In other words, a work quingets according to the de Fossa manuscript in the Library of Congress which dates from circa6 years after the composer’s death. There is no way of knowing to what extent this transcription by de Fossa corresponds to the original Boccherini transcription, without examining the original manuscript. That one, Alas, is not known to exist. In other words, these quintets, as recorded, could not have been performed in Madrid in Strangely enough, the CD liner notes do not say what source was used in the recording of G.


There is only one edition on the market of that quintet. Quntets and of itself, G. In other words, I stand by my words that these quintets quintegs not performed in Madrid during the composer’s life time, and the earliest documentable performance was the one made by Heinrich Albert in Germany in the mid quinteets. As for the recording itself, it is one of the strangest recordings of this music I have heard.

There is nothing on the CD to indicate what sort quintetw guitar Signor Pinardi was using, and whether it was single strung, double strung, using gut or nylon or steel or whatever.

One thing is certain: Whatever gyitar was used, Signor Pinardi is certainly far from the high standards established by many important guitarists, not least of which is Richard Savino, Pepe Romero, Jean-Pierre Jumez, Dagoberto Linhares, Daniel Benko, and a host of many others. Those who subscribe to the authenticity cult would probably enjoy it, but if the likes of Roman Turovsky think that this is good stuff and the last word on the subject, he is not only deluding others who may not know any better, but he is mainly deluding himself.

Return to text 3. As we shall see, Mr. November im Museum”. The performing artists were: I am indebted to Andreas Stevens for this information. While it does not change my contention that there is no record qintets the quintets having been performed in Spain during Boccherini’s life time, it places in a different light the involvement of German guitarists with quintetz music. Liner Notes Musicology, Part I. June Yakeley, Classical Guitar. Clive Titmuss was offering a model of a six course guitar from that period.

It’s probably the type of guitar Boccherini heard when he was guiitar Spain, and probably the guitar his “quintets” were played on.

This is definitely an area of early guitar that deserves exploration Double strung guitars were popular in Spain well into the mid 19th century. That is less probable. As far as I know, there is no record that these quintets were ever performed in Spain, or anywhere else for that matter, until about when they were performed in Germany by Heinrich Albert and friends.

Indeed it is, and much work has been done in this area by Spanish scholars such as Luis Briso de Montiano, Julio Gimeno and quite a few others.

The Boccherini Guitar Quintets

They usually hang around the Spanish guitar forum at http: The following day, this was posted on the list: A couple of years ago, I heard Rolf Lislevand perform the Fandango quintet. He used a five course baroque guitar.

My question is; was this “authentic” performance? Was the five course guitar still used in Spain at the time when these pieces where written? I have no doubt it sounded great, but so would any professional level performance on any other plucked-fretted instrument. Five course guitars were still in use all over Europe until well into the first couple of decades of the 19th century, but I do not think you can call these instruments “baroque guitars”.

The Baroque was well over by the time Boccherini settled in Spain. In any case, there are currently only one source for the Fandango quintet, and that is the de Fossa copy in the Library of Congress.

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