Sonate per fortepiano con accompagnamento di un violino, Op. V
ix sonatas for Fortepiano, with violin accompaniment. Opera VWithin the vast musical output of Boccherini the six sonatas for fortepiano with violin accompaniment, from his Opera quinta, constitue the only examples written for this instrumental combination. Considering the enormous popularity that these works enjoyed right from their first appearance in 1768, it may be surprising that their author did not continue to write for a genre which had proven so fortunate. One explanation of this disinterest may lie in the fact that, in all probability, at no other time did the particular circumstances leading to the work's conception and the motivations behind its inspiration present themselves. In 1767, Boccherini travel led with his friend, the violinist Filippo Manfredi to Paris, where he had already achieved a glowing reputation as composer and ’cellist, and there he had occasion to meet M. me Joui de Brillon. Here is how Charles Burney, in his work The present of Music in France and Italy, describes this personage: ". . . she in one of the greatest lady-players on the harpsichord in Europe. This lady not only plays the most difficult pieces with great precision, taste, and feeling, but is an excellent sight's-woman; of which I was convinced by her executing some of my own music, that I had the honor of presenting to her. She likewise composes; and she was so obliging as to play several of her own pieces both on the harpsichord and pianoforte accompanied with the violin by M. Pagin, who is reckoned in France the best scholar of Tartini ever made. [. . . ] she likewise draws well and engraves, and is a most accomplished and agreeable woman [. . . ]" The six sonatas for fortepiano and violin undoubtedly owe their origin both to the extraordinary personality of M. me Brillon, to whom they are dedicated, and to the technical and expressive possibilities manifestly displayed by the forte-piano. In the musical panorama of the eighteenth century relative to this genre, these sonatas offer without a doubt the greatest interest in so far as the piano is concerned (a surprising fact considering that Boccherini's chosen instrument was the violoncello), and represent a fundamental point of reference in the evolution of the relationship between these two instruments. The sonata for a Keyboard instrument with violin accompaniment, born in around the mid eighteenth century, was for a great while characterized by the former instrument's predominance over the latter, the violin being relegated to a subordinate role which at times is noticeably unessential to the composition. In the sonatas by Boccherini, however, the violin does not merely provide a secondary decorative element, but is instead completely integrated with the fortepiano into a single musical fabric, thus giving rise to an evolutionary process which will culminate in Beethoven's conception of the sonata for violin and piano.