Luigi Boccherini – Musica Amorosa

Babette Kaiserkern
Foreword by Steven Isserlis
Translated by Rhona Brose

Boccherini, after being ignored for so long, is starting to re-engage our attention again and Kaiserkern’s book will go a long way to giving us the background we need.
Maureen Buja,

The life and works of composer and cellist Luigi Boccherini are explored in this comprehensive new biography. He was highly regarded throughout Europe during his lifetime and the author of around 500 compositions, including symphonies, chamber music and vocal works as well as sonatas and concertos for the cello.






Ingenious, elegant, and pleasing – a treat for the most refined listeners and critical judges of musical composition’. Thus wrote Charles Burney in the 18th century about the music of Luigi Boccherini. Here, three centuries later, the renowned cellist Steven Isserlis, in his Foreword to Luigi Boccherini – Musica Amorosa, invites you to enter anew that world of ‘sweet, joyous clarity’ and ‘fathomless beauty’ that endow Boccherini’s rococo style. ‘This’, says Isserlis, ‘is the music of angels’.
Born in 1743 in Italy, in Lucca, famed for its long and distinguished musical tradition, Boccherini spent two thirds of his life in Spain, a vibrant influence that perfuses many of his works. A composer of symphonies, chamber music and vocal works, he excelled as well in creating many sonatas and concertos for the cello. A pioneer in his day of modern cello playing, Boccherini introduced techniques that greatly heightened the cello’s range and depth of expression. Incorporating recent international research, this comprehensive new biography sets the composer in his historical context during the turbulent social changes that accompanied the end of the ancien régime and the dawn of the republican era.



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About the Author

Babette Kaiserkern holds a doctorate in Humanities from the Freie Universität, Berlin with a focus on Hispanic literature and music history. She has published essays on European and Latin American cultural history. As a journalist, she collaborates regularly with music festivals, orchestras and magazines in Berlin and Potsdam and lectures widely on Boccherini, his life and work.


Foreword by Steven Isserlis
Publisher’s Note
1. Finale
2. The Cello and Music for the Cello
3. Travels
4. Duets, Trios, Quartets
5. In the Service of the Spanish Infante Luis de Borbón
6. String Quintets and String Sextets
7. Melting Pot Madrid
8. Chamber Composer to Frederick William II of Prussia
9. Symphonies
10. The Final Years
11. Vocal Works
12. Boccherini’s Letters
13. Boccherini’s Legacy
14. Boccherini’s Reputation down the Years
About the Author
About the Translator
List of Works
Index of Names and Places


Boccherini, after being ignored for so long, is starting to re-engage our attention again and Kaiserkern’s book will go a long way to giving us the background we need. Her book sets the stage and develops a thorough background of Boccherini and his time. Her analysis of the music is clear and thoughtful and gives a real insight into Boccherini’s innovations and virtuosic touch.
Maureen Buja –     Read the full review with music excerpts here

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