ELEGIA PER LA MORTE DI ANTON RUBINSTEIN
Russian pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) was one of Alfredo Piatti's sincere friends and favourite partners for performances; Rubinstein wanted to dedicate his Concerto per violoncello ed orchestra op. 65 to Alfredo Piatti.
The first time Anton Rubinstein and Giuseppe Verdi met, Alfredo Piatti made himself available for a memorable concert on 5 December 1891, as Piatti's daughter Rosa Piatti-Lochis tells us:
"While dining at our hotel we heard that Rubinstein was in Milan, at the Hotel de la Ville, so directly after dinner my father proposed that we should go to see him and we did so. Rubinstein was delighted to sèe my father again, and asked us to dine with him the next day. While talking and drinking a cup of coffee, Rubinstein said he heard that Verdi was in Milano and that he would like to go and see him, so my father, who knew Verdi, asked if he should go with him. Of course Rubinstein accepted the offer, and the next day we all went together to call on Verdi. During our visit I saw Verdi take my father by the shoulder and go out on to the balcony and speak to him. When they returned into the room my father asked Rubinstein if he would play something for Verdi. Rubinstein said, "certainly, but I think we ought to play something for the cello, and I should like to play one of my sonatas with you, to Verdi. "My father had no 'cello in Milan, but Count Melzi, who has an instrument, was asked to lend it to my father and he did so, and, a 'cello having been found, Verdi and his wife invited us all far the next evening. It was a most delightful evening and one never to be forgotten. [...]" (Morton Latham, Alfredo Piatti, A Sketch, 1901).
When Alfredo Piatti heard the sad news of his friend Anton Rubinstein's death in St. Petersburg on 20 November 1894, he was already suffering from an insidious illness, as related by Piatti's doctor and biographer Vittorio Camplani, the one Piatti dedicated the Elegia sulla morte di Anton Rubinstein to:
"But something that had been giving him problems for some time then changed into a true illness, and forced him, - upon the advice of his doctors - to put his departure off for a later date, since the trip would seriously complicate matters. [...] Then something happened which increased his sense of malaise: the unexpected death of this friend and colleague Anton Rubinstein in November. This depressed him and left him in great pain. But even though he was not well, he found a way to remember that loss, by writing a mournful elegy for two cellos on the occasion of the death of his friend, and dedicating it to the doctor who was treating him, a passionate amateur and very fervent admirer of his." (II. Camplani, Alfredo Piatti; cenni biografici, 1902).
This piece also lends itself extremely well to cello and double-bass.
Elegia per la morte di Anton Rubinstein
for two cellos
Alfredo Piatti Cello Collection
Editor Christian Bellisario
Pizzicato Verlag Helvetia, PVH 770