Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805) is one of a few composers whose music I most ardently relish.
To judge by available recordings, he seems to be responsible for mountains of chamber music—a genre that for whatever reason I find particularly engaging, and at which he evidently excels.
Boccherini’s symphonies, which are among the earliest in that category, are also a joy to the listener’s soul.
By far the most magnificent of his compositions is what I believe to be his only sacred work: his Stabat Mater.
As with many of his gems, the design is intimate, supple, and intense. One is drawn into the Holy Mother’s suffering in a way that is simultaneously subtle and sublime, physical and psychological, mournful and loving.
My favorite recording is by Sophie Karthäuser with Les Follies Francoise.
Here is a live performance of the text cited above, admirably executed by Julie Fuchs with Quatuor Cambini-Paris:
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