Gaetano Braga was an Italian composer and cellist who died in the 20th century.
He showed an early talent for music and despite it not being his parent’s first choice of career he went to the college of San Pietro a Maiella. He displayed such an incredible talent the director of the college had a cello specifically made for him by Nicola Gagliano the violin maker.
Braga began his career as a cellist and performed in Florence, Bologna, Trieste, and Vienna. He then went onto Paris and played compositions by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. He was a very popular cellist and also a highly sought after singing teacher by the artists of Theater Italian.
Braga played with some of the best performers of that time including Liszt, Gounod, Bizet, Saint Saens, Rubinstein and Bottesini.
He was friends with his Rossini and dedicated his piece the Adventurers to him.
He wrote Estrella di San Germano for the theatrical organiser Bartolomeo Merelli and it was performed infront of the emporer in Vienna. When Prince Leopold heard Estrella he commissioned Braga which resulted in the successful performance of Il Ritratto 1858.
Braga continued with theatrical opera with successes and failures and as a master of the cello. Leggenda Valacca also known a La Serenata, Angel’s Serenade was particularly famous – on music-scores.com we have a few arrangements of this beautiful piece – if you are unfamiliar with this listen to the you tube video below:
Braga purchased a Stradivari cello of 1731 in London in 1856 which carries his name. He continued to play it until 1903 when he was struck by hemiparesis. Braga died in 1907, however his cello lives on under the fingers of Korean cellist Myung-wha Chung.