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Preserving and Exploring our Musical Heritage

Exhibition of the Month - January 2022

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Mezzotint by Frank Holl, 1879.  Published London, 1880.  The sittings for this portrait are described in The Life and Work of Frank Holl by A M Reynolds (London, 1912): "The dear little man was all kindness and complaisance, so patient and submissive, his gentle voice and courteous manners bringing a veritable atmosphere of benignity into the house whenever he came.  His dear cello too, with what care and anxiety he would tend and guard it from any chance scratch or knock, treating it more lovingly than had it been a child.  His anxiety too lest it should not receive proper attention in the picture; being comparatively indifferent to the painting of his own complexion, but most critical and particular as to the exact tone of colour used for his big baby." Her Majesty's Theatre (known from 1830 to 1847 as the Italian Opera House).  Etching by W E Albutt after D C Read. London, [c.1840]. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The Theatre Royal, Covent Garden (known from 1847 to 1892 as the Royal Italian Opera).  Engraving by John Rolph after a drawing by Thomas H Shepherd.  London, 1828. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Obituary. Illustrated London News, 27 July 1901. With his dog.  Oil on canvas by Arthur Temple Felix Clay (1842–1928).  Presented to the Royal Academy by the artist in 1894. © The Royal Academy of Music, London. Postcard photograph by Window & Grove. London, [c.1880]. Carte de Visite by Caldesi, Blanford & Co. London, [c.1860]. Leonida Caldesi was a Florentine photographer born in the same year as Piatti and he found fame through his many commissions to photograph Queen Victoria and her family. Carte de Visite by H Hering. London, [c.1860]. Photograph by Window & Grove. London, [c.1875]. Autograph letter undated [c.1875].  Madme Schwabe is presumably Julie Salis Schwabe (1818-1896) of Crumpsall House near Manchester, who hosted Jenny Lind and Frederic Chopin as well as founding the Italian Ladies’ Philanthropic Association as a Garibaldi supporter.  Fred was her third son, and Christian Reimers – the cello ‘master’ recommended to him by Piatti – was a close friend of Robert Schumann, famous for having work-shopped the Cello Concerto with the composer. Autograph letter [c.1880]. Lady Louisa Sophia Goldsmid was, following the death of her husband, companion to pianist Agnes Zimmermann, a regular chamber music partner of Piatti. Autograph letter dated 21 February 1890 to Mr MacKinley.  The Bach Society concert to which Piatti refers was at St. James's Hall and included two cantatas. Photograph and signature of Hugo Becker (1863-1941), [c.1900]. One of Piatti's foremost pupils, he played with Ysaÿe, Busoni, Flesch, Joachim and Bülow. Programme of a concert at the Teatro Filarmonico, Verona. 1838. After Piatti had played Mendelssohn’s D major sonata at Moscheles's house (see above),  Mendelssohn sent him this note of fulsome appreciation. Autographs of Miss Steele, Piatti & Döhler.  These three signatories together with Sivori and the Lablaches were the 'Unprecedented combination of talent' advertised in the local press for 'A grand Morning and Evening concert' given at the Royal Victoria Assembly Rooms, Clifton on 15 October 1844. Programme for the 1852 Birmingham Musical Festival. No composer was given for the Duo with Sainton. The second Duo with Bottesini was 'On Airs from Puritani'. The 4th scene from the 2nd act of Il Trovatore from its London premiere at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden (at which Piatti led the cellos). Illustrated London News, 19 May 1855. Programme for a charity concert at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, 9 July 1855. Piatti's distinguished partners in the Mayseder Trio were regular chamber collaborators at this period. Programme for Julius Benedict's Annual Concert at Exeter Hall, 21 May 1856. The Monday Evening Popular Concerts.  Illustrated London News, 25 April 1863.  From left to right: Lindsay Sloper, Arthur Sullivan, Louis Ries, Henry Webb (viola), Joseph Joachim, Arabella Goddard, Charles Hallé, Arthur Chappell, Prosper Sainton and Alfredo Piatti. The Monday Popular Concerts.  Piatti is shown with Mme. Norman-Neruda, Louis Ries and Ludwig Straus in a quartet at St. James's Hall. Illustrated London News, 2 March 1872. Engraving by Vespasiano Bignami published together with an article on Piatti. Illustrazione Italiana, Milan, 12 December 1875. Etching by Leopold Löwenstam after Lajos Bruck, 1888. Joseph Joachim, Louis Ries, Ludwig Straus, and Piatti with their instruments in their hands about to play a quartet in a private house.
© The Trustees of the British Museum With Carl Reinecke and Joseph Joachim rehearsing for the Bonn concert above. Photograph by W. & D. Downey with the relevant pages from The Cabinet Portrait Gallery. London, 1890-94. Programme for a Monday Popular Concert at St. James's Hall on 18 January 1892. The Popular Concerts at St. James's Hall.  Dates of the forthcoming Season 1895-96. Programmes for two popular concerts at St. James's Hall.  6 January and 11 January 1896.