Joseph Bodin de Boismortier

1689 - 1755

About Joseph Bodin de Boismortier

From Wikipedia: The Boismortier family moved from the composer's birthplace in Thionville (in Lorraine) to the town of Metz where he received his musical education from Joseph Valette de Montigny, a well-known composer of motets. The Boismortier family then followed Montigny and moved to Perpignan in 1713 where Boismortier found employment in the Royal Tobacco Control.

Boismortier married Marie Valette, the daughter of a rich goldsmith and a relative of his teacher Montigny. In 1724 Boismortier and his wife moved to Paris where he began a prodigious composition career, writing for many instruments and voices. He was prolific: his first works appeared in Paris in 1724, and by 1747 he had published more than 100 works in various vocal and instrumental combinations. His music, particularly for the voice, was extremely popular and made him wealthy without the aid of patrons.

Boismortier was the first French composer to use the Italian concerto form, in his six concertos for five flutes op. 15. (1727). He also wrote the first French solo concerto for any instrument, a concerto for cello, viol, or bassoon (1729). Much of his music is for the flute, for which he also wrote an instruction method (now lost). Boismortier and Rameau both lived during the Rococo era of Louis XV and upheld the French tradition, composing music of beauty and sophistication that was widely appreciated. Although known as a composer, Bodin de Boismortier was also famed during his lifetime for his excessively inattentive and wandering mind that often kept him from conducting his own works.[1]

His six sonatas for flute and harpsichord op. 91, first published in Paris in 1742, were printed with an homage to the celebrated French flautist and composer, Michel Blavet (1700-1768). Today, they are probably his most popular pieces, for they indeed show Boismortier at his most creative and graceful. A notable piece of Boismortier's that is still often performed is the Deuxieme serenade ou simphonie.

He died in Roissy-en-Brie, where, at his request, he was buried in the Eglise Saint Germain.

The playwright and novelist Suzanne Bodin de Boismortier was his daughter. A full-length biography on the composer, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, by Stephan Perreau, was published in France in 2001.

Playalong Pieces

Title Instrumentation