Annata N.3 (2010)

English abstract

Boccherini’s music has been the object of a misunderstanding. A lightness meant as shallowness of content has been reproached to the artist. This article strives to demonstrate that such a reproach is unfounded. We argue that Boccherini’s work springs from a complete discipline of lightness built upon the ideas of suavitas and jubilus. This discipline goes well beyond the simple lighthandedness of the instrumental virtuoso Boccherini was. A quantitative analysis dealing with the tempos and the harmonic degrees subdividing the mouvements of 82 ‘‘opere grandi’’ is presented to illustrate another dimension of lightness intended as ‘‘leggiadria’’, as delicate balance between the artist’s spontaneous creativity and the norm of given musical forms. Qualitative analyses of chosen chamber pieces are also proposed to show a third feature of Boccherini’s discipline of lightness meant this time as levitas, as elevated poise transcending into the purity of the musical expression the doubts and the sadness of the artist.

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