This article is an expanded version of the Editorial Notes that can be found in the published edition, available at this link. Here’s a promotional video:
This edition was first published in 2018, and it bears n° 3 in my catalogue. After publishing edition n° 40, Dotzauer’s Russian Air with 20 variations, few days ago, it is now time to update an existing edition and to prepare it for printing.
Carlo Alfredo Piatti (Bergamo, 8 January 1822 — Mozzo, 18 July 1901) published his Twelve Caprices for Solo Cello with the editor ’N. Simrock, Berlin’ in 1875, nine years after their initial completion (the autograph bears the date June 26th, 1865), dedicating them to his esteemed colleague Bernhard Cossmann (who, in return, will dedicate his 5 Concert Studies, op. 10 to Piatti, in 1876). Since then, they have been a staple of every cellist’s repertoire, due both to their beauty and pedagogical contribution to the technique of the instrument.
During one of my several visits to the Music Library “Gaetano Donizetti” in Bergamo—which houses the Piatti-Lochis collection—, I came across a fascinating item: inside the autograph of the Caprices were wrinkled copies of a cello and piano manuscript score. Above the first system was written ‘Moderato’; within was a ternary simple meter and the barely legible first bar only of the cello part. Below this, a solitary piano part extended on the following four pages.
After a brief analysis, it became clear that this had to be Piatti’s own original arrangement of his Caprice No. 7 for cello and piano. There is no evidence of further accompaniments to his Caprices and thus this had to be (and to my knowledge, still is) a historical unicum.
The decision to produce a Performance Edition has unearthed interesting points of comparison between the two autographs, the editions for solo cello and the present one. As the manuscript utilised presented only the piano staff, I had to copy the cello part from the two autographs, comparing the result with each successive edition, of which only one (Simrock) was published during Piatti’s lifetime.
It has been fascinating to see how some editions following Piatti’s death had taken editorial freedoms for personal and musically convincing readings of the Twelve Caprices.
Where those additions have been deemed useful for the realisation of this edition, they have been placed in square brackets [ ] with a note added at the end. Otherwise, the two autographs were the only sources used.
In several places, the two autographs diverge noticeably in the use of dynamics and, at one point, also in the use of the agogic. All editorial interventions and other musical choices have been highlighted with the use of square brackets and elaborated in the comments at the end of the current volume.
The edition comes bundled with a copy of the cello part. The fingerings in it faithfully mirror the autograph of the cello part. Where found to be different, they have been added by the editor.
A wholehearted thank you to Annalisa Barzanò for her invaluable help in the realisation of this edition.
Notes to the 2nd Edition
The 2nd Edition corrects an omission in the piano part, left hand, where a note was missing in bar 18. The design has been updated to the latest and greatest available, and prepared for print and distribution. This becomes the first edition of the Piatti Opera Omnia project to get printed.
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