Robert Sidney Pratten
23 Jan 1824. Died: Ramsgate, 10
was a self taught flautist and according to Rockstro
the only lesson he ever received was from his elder brother, Frederick, who
later became a noted Double Bass player. He first appeared before the public as
a soloist, giving concerts in Bath
from the age of twelve. He then went on to secure a place in the orchestra at
the Theatre Royal, Dublin
before settling in London
where he held the post of first flute at the Theatre Royal, Covent
Garden from January 1845. The following month he made his first
appearance in London
as a soloist playing Nicholson’s Fantasia on an Air from Nina, at a
‘Monster Concert’ given at Covent Garden Theatre.
August 1846 and June 1847, Pratten toured the
principal cities of Europe under the
sponsorship of Sir Warwick Hele Tonkin. He was
received enthusiastically by audiences and critics alike gaining for himself a
fine reputation. Soon after returning to England he took up Siccama’s flute and put aside his 8-keyed Rudall & Rose
1852 he was appointed first flute at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent
Garden and succeeded Richardson
on joining Jullien’s band where he became a chief attraction at the Promenade
Concerts. That same year he began designing his own flutes and from about 1856
had them made by Boosey & Co. Other appointments at this time included
concerts of the Philharmonic and Sacred Harmonic Societies.
September 1854 Pratten married Catharina Pelzer, a
celebrated guitarist, a youthful prodigy like himself, who began giving solo
concerts at the age of nine.
was composer of numerous flute pieces, studies for the Siccama
flute, scales and exercises for his own ‘perfected flute’ and tutors published
by Boosey & Co. and E.
became suddenly ill whilst playing the obbligato to “O rest in the Lord”
(Elijah) at Exeter Hall in November 1867. He was able to play to the end of the
item but then had to leave the orchestra. It proved to be his last concert.
R. S. Rockstro & R. S. Pratten
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