edited by Rudolf Rasch, Bologna, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2007 [Opera Omnia – Vol. XXIX], ISMN: 979-0-2153-1443-6, ISBN: 978-88-8109-460-8.
Boccherini’s six duets for two violins were composed in 1761, when he was not yet twenty years old, probably when he was in Vienna with his father. Later they were classified by him as his Opus 3. They are all in three movements: most often a “serious” fast movement first, then a slow movement and finally a “light” movement such as a minuet or a rondo.
They explore a variety of writing styles: melody with accompaniment, movement in thirds, polyphony, and so on. Although they clearly subscribe to the mid-eighteenth-century tradition of the duet as didactic music they should not be considered “simple music”, let alone “slight music”. Nor are they of the “teacher-pupil” model. No autograph manuscript of the pieces or copies derived from such a manuscript are known.
The best source is their edition published in Paris by Louis-Balthasard de La Chevardière, in 1768, probably based on a manuscript from the composer. The reprints published in Amsterdam, Madrid and London and later also in Paris testify to the popularity of the pieces, as do also the many manuscript copies, all copied from one of the printed editions.