Quintet per a cordes op. 39 n. 3, G 339 en do major L. Boccherini (1743 – 1805)
Octet per a clarinet, trompa, fagot i cordes en fa major, D. 803 F. Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Over the 18th century, coinciding with the rise of the sheet music market and public concerts, Italian composers and musicians, who for some time now had been becoming musical references, travelled all over Europe to try their luck in the leading courts of the continent. In this sense, Spain was no exception. If we had to choose between the most relevant of all Italian composers who worked in the court of Madrid in the 18th century, without doubt, Luigi Boccherini’s name would be selected.
The beginnings of Boccherini’s professional trajectory are intertwined with his home city, Lucca, and the cities of Rome and Milan. After a brief stay in Paris, he travelled to Madrid in 1768 where he undertook various roles, a highlight being musician and composer for the infant Luis Antonio de Borbón and the composer and conductor of the orchestra for the Countess de Benavente. It was Spain where Boccherini lived out the rest of his life and where he composed the majority of his works.
The birth of the string quintet which usually varies between the combination of two violins, a viola and two violoncellos (or a violoncello and a double bass, as was the case in the quintets of op.39) and that of two violins, two violas and a violoncello is usually attributed to the Austrian composers of the middle 18th century. Subsequently, the string quintet garnered more relevance thanks to artists such as M. Haydn, G. M. Cambini or W. A. Mozart. In the court of Madrid, the string quintet was one of the groups that was most worked on by Luigi Boccherini and Gaetano Brunetti, another important musician of Italian origin. String Quintet No. 3 (Op. 39) by Boccherini dates back to the year 1787. Just as was intended, the two most prominent instruments are the first violin and the first violoncello, the instrument that Luigi Boccherini played. The work is full of personal character and Boccherini’s carefree attitude, definitely influenced by the musicians that played in Madrid in the 18th century. The beauty of the second movement must be highlighted, a pleasurable pastorale in the key of G major.
Although Franz Schubert belonged to a subsequent generation to that of Luigi Boccherini, the Austrian composer knew the Italian composers work first hand as it continued to circulate through Europe over the 19th century. Franz Schubert’s Octet in F Major was composed in 1824, the result of a request by the Austrian noble and clarinettist Ferdinand Troyer.
It does not surprise us that Schubert’s octet had become one of the most emblematic works of the Viennese composer. Over approximately one hour of music, Schubert demonstrates his skill in bringing together the timbre and the technique of the string instruments (in the same formation of string quintets used by Boccherini) with wind instruments. The dialogue that was produced between the instruments was created in a balanced and ingenious way. Throughout the work they all lead and have a moment of brilliance, but also in accompanying, they bring an extensive palette of sonic texture and colour. The theme of the first movement comes from the lied Der Wanderer by Schubert, whilst the variations of the fourth movement are based on a theme of his singspiel, Die Freunde von Salamanka from 1815. The movement with which he finalises the octet, jovial and bucolic, is an original climax to a work which is entirely a summary of the great composing skill of Franz Schubert.
Formed by members of Amsterdam's famed Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO), Camerata RCO performs chamber music in multiple formations from duets to small chamber orchestras, with a special focus on Classical and Romantic repertoires for wind and strings, as well as having active relationships with living composers.
It is an absolute love of chamber music that drives these musicians to divert time out of their busy schedules and perform together as members of one of the world's greatest orchestras in Camerata RCO. Praised by the New York Times for their "warm, glowing performance," the ensemble has enjoyed tremendous success in the Netherlands and further abroad and now performs around 50 concerts a season internationally in music capitals such as Amsterdam, Vienna, Tokyo, Seoul, Madrid, Rome and New York. Their ever-expanding discography on Gutman Records includes recordings of works by Corelli, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Mahler, and Ravel.
Recent highlights include a critically acclaimed tour of South Korea; a weeklong residency at the Festival Musika-Música in Bilbao, Spain; concerts in both halls of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw; their UK debut in Cambridge; and a special benefit concert directed by New York Philharmonic music director designate and former Concertgebouw concertmaster Jaap Van Zweden.
Camerata RCO toured North America twice in 2017-18, with works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann as well as Dutch composer Tristan Keuris and RCO composer-in-residence Detlev Glanert. In 2018-19 they have been on tour in the US during February and April 2019 with works by Dohnanyi, Bartok, Brahms, Mozart, and others.