French Composer Boismortier Born This Day in 1689

Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Special Announcements | 0 comments

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (23 December 1689 – 28 October 1755) was a French baroque composer of instrumental music, cantatas, opéra-ballets, and vocal music. According to Wikipedia. Boismortier was one of the first composers to have no patrons: having obtained a royal license for engraving music in 1724, he made enormous sums of money by publishing his music for sale to the public.

In 1724 Boismortier and his wife moved to Paris where he began a prodigious composition career, writing for many instruments and voices. He was prolific: his first works appeared in Paris in 1724, and by 1747 he had published more than 100 works in various vocal and instrumental combinations. His music, particularly for the voice, was extremely popular and made him wealthy without the aid of patrons. 

Boismortier was the first French composer to use the Italian concerto form, in his six concertos for five flutes op. 15. (1727). He also wrote the first French solo concerto for any instrument, a concerto for cello, viol, or bassoon (1729). Much of his music is for the flute, for which he also wrote an instruction method (now lost). His six sonatas for flute and harpsichord op. 91, first published in Paris in 1742, were printed with an homage to the celebrated French flautist and composer, Michel Blavet (1700-1768). Today, they are probably his most popular pieces, for they indeed show Boismortier at his most creative and graceful. A notable piece of Boismortier's that is still often performed is the Deuxieme serenade ou simphonie. Boismortier and Rameau both lived during the Rococo era of Louis XV and upheld the French tradition, composing music of beauty and sophistication that was widely appreciated by the French musical public.

A full-length biography on the composer, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, by Stephan Perreau, was published in France in 2001.

The music theorist Jean-Benjamin de la Borde wrote in his Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne (Essay on ancient and modern music) in 1780 about Boismortier: Bienheureux Boismortier, dont la fertile plume peut tous les mois, sans peine, enfanter un volume. (Happy be Boismortier whose fertile pen can give birth without pain to a whole new book of piece of music every month.)

To such criticism, it is said that Boismortier would simply answer: "I'm earning money."

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