Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
II. Bourrée en Rondeau
III. Rondeau: Gracieusement
IV. Fantaisie: Vivement
Approximate Performance Time:
Intermediate Advanced – appropriate for advanced high school students and college undergraduates
Boismortier, Joseph Bodin de, Composer, et al. BOISMORTIER, J.B.: Flute Concertos, Op. 15, Nos. 1-6 / Suite De Pieces, Op. 35, No. 5 / Sonata En Trio, Op. 7, No. 4 (Kuijken). n.p.: Accent, n.d. Naxos Music Library. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.
Rebecca Stuhr. Suite No 5 In B Minor, Op. 35. Joseph Bodin De Boismortier, 2008. CD.
Leedy, Douglas. “Instrumental Solo and Ensemble Music for flute, By JB de Boismortier, CH Graun, JP Kirnberger, F. Philidor.” Notes 45.1 (1988): 156.
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, born in 1689 in Thionville, France and was the son of a baker in the Berry region. His family moved to Metz in 1691 where he received his education in music under the motet composer Joseph Valette de Montigny. He worked as a tax collector for the Royal Tobacco Company while in Perpignan in 1713. Throughout a ten-year stretch, he published various drinking songs (Airs à boire). He then relocated to Paris with his wife and daughter and was granted permission to publish his compositions in 1724. Boismortier has an extensive œuvre including repertoire for opera, liturgical purposes, theatre, vocal works, but most of his work was written for small instrumental ensembles. Some of his instrumental ensembles are flute duets and French cantatas, but Boimortier also wrote Six Suites for flute alone.
His Six Suites for flute alone created a following for Boismortier of players of the relatively new one-keyed baroque flute. He wrote much of his music with the intent that amateurs were able to play his music but music connoisseurs at the time criticized him for it. Boismortier’s solo flute suites look simple on paper but require more work from professionals than expected to bring out the true music. He gives the perform the opportunity to show off their virtuosity through the use of ornamentation.