JOSEPH BODIN BOISMORTIER (1689 - 1755)
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier was among the most popular
composers of 18th-century France. He was born in the town of
Perpignan and relocated to Paris in about 1724. In the years
that followed, he published over one hundred and two major works,
all written with an eye on popularity. They were printed and
reprinted providing him with enormous wealth.
His wealth and success made him the butt of many jokes amongst
the musical establishment and posterity has judged him harshly.
Nevertheless, many of his works were heard at the performances of
the Concert Spirituel and his motet of 1741, Fugit nox,
became a fixture at that ensemble's Christmas performances for
over twenty years.
Although his works aimed to please listeners, Boismortier was
knowledgeable composer. He was, for instance, the first French
composer to work within the new Italian innovation, the concerto.
He used it for the first time when writing the Six Concertos for
Five Flutes which appeared in 1727 (when the composer was 38). It
was also to be his first exercise in writing works in three
movements - fast, slow, fast. By today's standard they were
very short, little more than a good melodic idea, but they do
demonstrate a knowledge of how to skilfully use five instruments
of the same kind to produce such varying tonal colours.