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(1822 - 1901)

Alfredo Piatti was born in Bergamo, the son of a violinist, Antonio Piatti, leader of the Bergamo orchestra, who gave him early violin lessons. He studied the cello with his great-uncle, Gaetano Zanetti, and at the age of eight was allowed to play in the theatre orchestra, where he later succeeded Zanetti.

Piatti had his training as a composer with the German violinist-composer Bernhard Molique, future professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in London, where his text-book Studies in Harmony was published in 1862. Molique’s compositions, now largely forgotten, include a Cello Concerto for Piatti, a work that won contemporary popularity. Piatti’s own compositions include a number of shorter pieces for the cello, four Cello Sonatas and a Fantasia romantica for cello and orchestra or piano.

In England Piatti had married Mary Ann Welsh, the daughter of the singer and singing teacher Thomas Welsh, a grandson of the elder Thomas Lindley, a marriage that resulted in the birth of a daughter, but seemingly little other satisfaction. In 1898 Piatti retired and finally moved to Cadenabbia, on Lake Como. He spent the final months of his life at the home of his daughter, the widow of Count Lochis, at Crocette di Mozzo, his death in July 1901.

© Keith Anderson

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