As soon as I realised that 2022 would have been the 200th anniversary of the birth of Italian cellist and composer Carlo Alfredo Piatti (1822–1901), I knew that something needed to be done. I quickly browsed my publishing plans for the nearest future and delayed everything else to make room for this composition. While Piatti is mainly known for his Twelve Caprices Op. 25 for cello solo, he wrote so much more, and it is simply not fair that those gems remained in the darkness.
Artistic Score Engraving already offers two of Piatti’s pieces in its catalogue: the Quartettino “In Vacanza” for four cellos, and Piatti’s own version of the seventh caprice from Op. 25 with piano accompaniment.
The reason I chose Pioggia d’Aprile among all the available compositions is its character and story-driven form. It all starts in a minor and dark key as only A-minor can be, and while it tries to get over the clouds with some glimpses of major modes, it fails multiple times to do so. The way Piatti paints with the chords of the piano and the relentless raindrops of the cello is nothing short of masterful. The central part, in C major, gives us the feeling of suddenly soaring above the clouds where thunders and lightings cannot reach us. The main theme in A minor comes back briefly, just to slingshot us forward to A major when the rainbow suddenly appears, alongside a reddening sky, bringing us hope for a better and more peaceful tomorrow.
This was what I felt when listening to Pioggia d’Aprile after first inputting the notes in the notational software, and it seemed very appropriate to compare it to what we are living now: an apparently endless grey horizon, with glimpses of hope that are every time hammered to the ground by new restrictions and bad news, and yet with a breakthrough that will free us from this suffocating scenario.
The piano part does not present significant challenges to the player, apart from the need of keeping the “una-corda” pedal pressed for basically all the piece, and playing very, very softly. The cello part is nothing short of what you should be used to expect from Piatti: a virtuoso piece, a masterful usage of thumb position and of string crossing. Any student will find plenty of inspiration in this piece, though I suggest you ask your teacher to help you with some fingerings, as Piatti’s one are somewhat sparse. The true priority of this piece, though, is bow usage: one needs to be very careful to use as little bow as possible, and to be exactly in the springing part of the bow. While practicing it, make sure you are using much more weight than it would seem necessary, as this will help you relax your shoulder when your left hand feels ready to perform the piece.
The present edition can be classified as an Urtext, as it fully respects the composer’s manuscript. One of the most interesting quirks found in the manuscript is the way Piatti asks the pianist to use the “una-corda” pedal, and I deemed appropriate to keep those markings.
Very few mistakes were found, a B-sharp in the cello line of the score which should have been a C-sharp (bar 64), and a B-sharp that should have been a B-natural in the cello line of the score (bar 58). The Editorial Notes at the beginning of the edition also contain a rough analysis of the piece.
A full score and a separate part compose this edition, and you can find it here. I hope you will find it useful!
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