Schumann’s Bach

I once attended a lecture on Boccherini’s cello concertos by a leading expert, and perhaps inevitably, someone brought up the issue of the B-flat cello concerto that most of us still know in its nineteenth-century arrangement by Friedrich Grützmacher (whose name, according to Dimitry Markevitch, translates delightfully as “mush-maker”).

I was expecting the scholar to denounce Grützmacher’s strange patchwork of several different Boccherini compositions into this unbalanced, now unfashionable hybrid, but he didn’t. He just shrugged and said “You can say what you like about Grützmacher, but if it hadn’t been for him, we mightn’t know about Boccherini now.”

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