6 Quintets for Flute or Oboe, 2 Violins, Viola and Violoncello Op. 19 (G 425-430)

edited by Rudolf Rasch, Bologna, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2023 [Opera Omnia – Vol. Vol. XX.2], ISMN: 979-0-2153-2821-1, BCE 12.


In all, Boccherini wrote three sets of six flute quintets. The first two are the Opp. 17 and 19 already mentioned. They were complemented by a third set more than twenty years later, his Op. 55, composed in 1797 and first published in 1799.

All three sets are ‘opere piccole’, that is, they contain works consisting of two movements only. This is in contrast with the cello quintets and the trios with viola, which are for the larger part ‘opere grandi’, that is, works consisting of four movements.

According to Boccherini’s own catalogue, the Flute Quintets Op. 19 were composed in 1774, and, so far, there is no reason to doubt that. The works have come down to us in four eighteenth-century sources, an autograph manuscript score, two non-autograph manuscripts in parts, and an edition in parts.

The autograph score, acquired in the early 1960s by Germaine de Rothschildt and now in the possession of her heirs, belongs to a group of seven extant autograph scores, written from 1772 to 1777, which contain works that were all published by the Parisian publishers Louis-Balthazard de La Chevardière and Jean-Georges Sieber. As it appears, these manuscripts are the scores sent by Boccherini to Paris for publication.

Several of them contain explicit indications for the engraver and several of them contain lines in red pencil that mark the division of the notes over the staves as found in the Parisian editions.

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