ALS. 4pp. 15 Northwick Terrace, Maida Hill, NW. 1st December 1892. To [Samuel] Chappell.
"The Suite (No.1) by Bach is in G. -
(Minuet 1st & 2nd
There is an Allemande after the Prelude but all the pieces being in G, I am afraid it would be too much. However I do not think the Suite will last more than 10 or 12 minutes. The Suites are for Violincello Solo, but a very old friend of mine told me (I don't know upon what authority) that Bach used to accompany them on the organ, without having written the part; so I hope I may be forgiven for having put a pianoforte accompaniment faute de mieux. Will you kindly explain that to Bennett? I don't dare to do it myself. I suppose he will want to see the music. But we will talk of this Saturday next. [. . .?] is delighted that you will go to his dinner and I to. Sincerely yours, Alfred Piatti".
8vo bifolium. Approx 7 x 4.5 inches (18 x 11.5 cms). In fine condition.
Carlo Alfredo Piatti (known by the anglicized form of Alfred Piatti during his time in England) was an infant prodigy who, at a young age, astounded European audiences with his cello playing. Whilst touring at the age of 16 Piatti fell ill and was forced to sell his cello to pay his medical expenses. He was invited to perform on a borrowed cello by Franz Liszt who, upon hearing his virtuosity on the instrument, immediately presented him with a very fine Stradivarius. Piatti made his London debut in 1844 and it was there that he later met the music publisher Samuel Chappell who engaged him to play at the famous Monday and Saturday Concerts at St James's Hall (the 'Pops' and Chamber Concerts). He was to remain there for the next 39 seasons, and retained the post of first cellist until 1897. This letter is a nice example of the collaboration between the two on the content of one of these renowned Concerts. The "Bennett" referred to in the letter is Dr Joseph Bennett, the English music critic, choral conductor and librettist, who was often called upon to provide learned programme notes for concerts at St. James's Hall, the Philharmonic Society and other venues.