A poor and meagre instrument

From a review of a concert that Piatti gave on the 24th of October in York: “Signor Piatti, it is true, has not the powerful tone of Lindley, and the instrument he plays upon is poor and meagre; but he far exceeds him in every other requisite, and he is the most elegant and finished performer on the violoncello we ever heard.”

This is certainly high praise for the young Piatti, who was in the middle of his first concert tour in England at that moment. Foreign cellists visiting England in the first half of the 19th century were always compared with Robert Lindley, the leading figure of the old English cello school, and usually not very favorably. However, I don’t think many cellists would be really happy with such a review. I don’t know if Piatti actually read it, but if he did, he will certainly have thought about it a few days later, on the 5th of November. On that day, during a rehearsal for a concert in Dublin, he met a local cellist called Samuel Pigott, who owned a beautiful Stradivari cello. Piatti tried out the instrument on that day, and “greatly envied it’s owner”. More than twenty years later, Piatti himself became the owner of  the Stradivari cello. It was given to him by a rich admirer, Colonel Oliver. The “poor and meager” cello was probably a Rogeri…

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