Luigi Boccherini – Symphony in D minor „La casa del diavolo“ (G 506)
(b. Lucca, 19. Februar 1743 – d. Madrid, 28. May 1805)
Sturm und Drang in Spain:
Luigi Boccherini’s Symphony in D minor
Luigi Boccherini’s well-known Symphony in D minor (G 506) is the fourth of a set of six symphonies. It is the customary minor-mode item in the symphonic six-pack. The Parisian publisher Louis Balthazar de La Chevardière published the set as 6 Concerti a grande orchestra opus 16 in 1776. In his own work inventory, however, Boccherini listed them as opus 12. Conflicting opus numbers are always bound to lead to confusion – in this case with the 6 Quintetti published as opus 12 in 1774, which Boccherini listed as opus 10. Therefore, in all matters Boccherini, it is safer to refer to the catalogue by Yves Gérard (Thematic, bibliographical and critical catalogue of the works of Luigi Boccherini, Oxford University Press, 1969), which lists the symphonies as G 503-508, and the quintets as G 265-270. The symphony’s habitual nickname La casa del diavolo (The house of the devil) is not authentic.
Boccherini’s Symphony in D minor is often described as belonging to the Sturm und Drang ‘movement’ or ‘style’. Conventional wisdom has it that Sturm und Drang mainly manifested itself in music in the late 1760s and 1770s, and left its traces in the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn.
The name derives from a movement in contemporary German literature and was taken from Friedrich Maximilian Klinger’s play Sturm und Drang (1776). The aim of the literary movement was to emphasize those elements which are non-rational, subjective, individual, emotional, overwhelming, or frightening. Other important Sturm und Drang titles are Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s Götz von Berlichingen (1771) and Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774), and Friedrich Schiller’s Die Räuber (1781). Sturm und Drang’s origins in German letters and its association with composers such as Haydn and Mozart have led to the assumption that in music, Sturm und Drang was also a phenomenon of German-speaking Europe, and was to be situated in the same years. …
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