The 12 Caprices of Alfredo Piatti Op. 25 are essential to the cello literature. In the
concert hall, they test the cellist to the limit of their capabilities both musically and
technically. Piatti was an italian cellist from the era of bel canto opera, and his
caprices capture all the elements of comedy, tragedy, and beauty in their writing. He
creates these scena with a palette of bow strokes: from expansive legato
arpeggiations to unending bariolage to rollicking ricochet. And through these
explorations of technique, Piatti writes incredible pieces of beauty and charm that
delight the audience and performer.
My relationship with the 12 Caprices, Op. 25 began in my doctoral studies at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison. My mentor was Uri Vardi, both a cellist and
Feldenkrais practitioner, who deeply influenced my approach in learning these
pieces. The result of these studies was my dissertation, Piatti and the Body: An
Integrative Approach to Learning and Performing the 12 Caprices, Op. 25. Included
were 12 recordings of each caprice accompanied by a short video on learning that
Caprice through the lens of the Feldenkrais Method.
The Feldenkrais Method is based on somatic learning, where the student explores
aspects of movement through a context set by the teacher. There is no set goal
except for improved awareness of the body, leading to greater clarity in intention,
action, and ability. It is my hope that the accompanying pedagogy videos are used
not only to learn the Caprices of Piatti, but explored in all repertoires for the cellist.
All videos can be found on Youtube.com, and a copy of the dissertation can be requested via the Contact page on this site.
Piatti Caprice No. 4
Piatti Lesson No. 4