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EILEEN JOYCE (1908-1991)
Australian Pianist

Who is Eileen Joyce?  If you have ever seen the movies Brief Encounter and The Seventh Veil, she has brought tears to your eyes.   She is the pianist in the performance of the Rachmaninoff 2nd Piano Concerto that was used as background music in both films, and as a result of these films Rachmaninoff became a household word.  The quality of her playing was compared, by an important German music critic of the late 1940s, to that of Clara Schumann, Sophie Menter and Teresa Carreño. And the 1950 biography of her early years became a best seller.

The eminent British pianist Stephen Hough wrote, "she displayed all the dazzle and scintillating virtuosity of many great players of the past ... she has to be added to the list of great pianists from the past."  Glenn Gould considered Eileen Joyce to be the finest interpreter of Mozart.  And it is rumored that she never played a wrong note in concert.   Yet she is virtually unknown today.

When I was a teenager in the 1960s, many of Eileen Joyce's old London/Decca recordings were still available, mostly in the bargain record bins at Sam Goody.  Today there are perhaps three CDs in print. She was fabulous.  I owned that recording of the Rachmaninov 2nd and I would kill to find it again.

Listen to Eileen Joyce play "Clair de Lune" by Debussy and see the reflection of the moonlight dance on the waves of a pool.  Hear her play Fauré as though the music were young, fresh, and spontaneous.   Her playing of the Granados Alegro de Concierto is noble, poetic, and free of the sentimentality that often plagues this music.   You are in a garden of Spain.

There are four of the Liszt concert etudes, each played as it should be played, in its own style, with its own voice.  And the etude that Rachmaninov always played to warm up his fingers. It ripples and floats. What an amazing pianist was Eileen Joyce. But her Chopin is perhaps the most marvelous of all.

You can hear Eileen Joyce play encores and salon pieces and concerti and chamber music by following these links.



Bach  Prelude & Fugue in A minor, BWV 944

recorded in 1938




Mozart  Gigue in G major, K 574

recorded in 1941




Mozart  Piano Sonata 7 in C major, K 309
i Allegro con spirito
04:13ii Andante un poco adagio
11:20iii Rondo: allegretto grazioso

recorded in 1948




Mozart  Piano Sonata 12 in F major, K 332
i Allegro
04:44ii Adagio
09:09iii Allego assai

recorded in 1941




Mozart  Piano Sonata 18 in D major, K 576
i Allegro
04:46ii Adagio
09:57iii Allegretto

recorded in 1941




Beethoven  Piano Sonata 8 in C minor, Op 13 ("Pathetique")
i Grave. Allegro di molto e con brio
08:11ii Adagio cantabile
13:58iii Rondo: Allegro

recorded in 1947




Schubert  Impromptu in E major, Op 90~2

recorded in 1939




Schubert  Andante in A major, D 604

recorded in 1939




Mendelssohn  Rondo Capriccioso, Op 14

recorded in 1945




Chopin  Nocturnes

recorded in 1940


2 in E major, Op 9~2



9 in B major, Op 32~1




Chopin  Étude in E major, Op 10~3

recorded in 1941




Chopin  Ballades


1 in G minor, Op 23
recorded in 1942



3 in A major, Op 47




Chopin  Berceuse in D major, Op 57

recorded in 1939




Chopin  Fantaisie-Impromptu in C minor, Op posth (Op 66)

recorded in 1939




Schumann  Papillons, Op 2

recorded in 1948




Schumann  from Noveletten, Op 21
2 in D major (rec 1937)
6 in A major (rec 1939)




Schumann-Liszt  "Frühlingsnacht" 12 from Liederkreis, Op 39

recorded in 1937




Liszt  Deux Études de Concert


1 "Waldesrauschen"
recorded in 1935



2 "Gnomenreigen"




Liszt  from Trois Études de Concert


2 "La Leggierezza"



3 "Un Sospiro"




Liszt  "Au bord d'une source"

recorded in 1937




Liszt-Gounod  Faust Waltz (abridged)

recorded in 1934




Brahms  6 Klavierstücke, Op 118

recorded in 1935


2 Intermezzo in A major



5 Romanze in F major (Andante)




Brahms  From Klavierstücke, Op 119

recorded in 1934


3 Intermezzo in C major



4 Rhapsody in E major





Debussy  Toccata from Pour le piano

recorded in 1933




Scriabin  from Etudes Op 11
9 in E major
10 in C minor

recorded in 1941




Rachmaninoff  Preludes

recorded in 1938


Prelude in E major, Op 23~6
Prelude in C minor Op 23~7



Prelude in A minor Op 32~8
Prelude in G minor, Op 23~5 (rec 1934)




Ravel  "Jeux d'eau"

recorded in 1941




Shostakovich  3 Fantastic Dances, Op 5
March - 00:53 ➢ Waltz - 02:50 ➢ Polka

recorded in 1938




LAST RECORDING BEFORE RETIREMENT IN 1960

BEETHOVEN  Bagatelle "Für Elise"
03:24 ➢ SCHUMANN  Romance Op 28~2
06:43 ➢ SCHUMAN-LISZT  "Widmung"
09:46 ➢ FAURE  Impromptu 2
13:48 ➢ LISZT  "Gnomenreigen"
16:39 ➢ LISZT  "Un sospiro"
21:35 ➢ DEBUSSY  "Clair de lune"
25:45 ➢ DOHNANYI  Rhapsody Op 11~1
30:26 ➢ DEBUSSY  "La Cathédrale engloutie"
37:13 ➢ GRANADOS  "The Maiden and the Nightingale"
42:47 ➢ GRANADOS  Allegro de concierto

recorded in the late 1950s










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



Follow these links to our main subject categories

Or return to the Great Women Pianists Play page



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