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ISIDOR PHILIPP
Hungarian-Born French Pianist (1863 - 1958)



Isidor Philipp was a French pianist, composer, and distinguished pedagogue of Hungarian descent. He was born in Budapest and died in Paris.  He studied piano under Georges Mathias, one of the rare students of Chopin who was a professional pianist and who had also studied with Kalkbrenner, at the Conservatoire de Paris where he won the First Prize in piano in 1883.  He also studied with Saint-Saëns, Heller, himself a student of Czerny who had been a student of Beethoven, and Ritter who had studied with Liszt.  He developed very close tiese with Debussy often playing Debussy's music, and was considered to be an authority on Debussy's piano music. Alkan was also a close friend.

Isidor Philipp was a frequent performer at the Colonne, Lamoureux and Conservatoire concerts in Paris, attending master classes by the likes of Liszt and Anton Rubinstein.  But he eventually turned his attention to teaching and became perhaps the most important professor of piano at the Paris Conservatory where he taught from 1893 to 1934. From 1921 to 1933, Philipp was also the head of the piano section at the Conservatoire de Fontainebleau, my own alma mater.

The list of prominent pianists and composers among his students is long.  Here are a number whose names you will recognize: Emma Boynet, Aaron Copland, Monique de La Bruchollerie, Jeanne-Marie Darré, Pierre Dervaux, Ania Dorfmann, Rolande Falcinelli, Jean Françaix, Youra Guller, Marcelle Herrenschmidt, Yvonne Loriod, Nikita Magaloff, Federico Mompou, Guiomar Novaes, the philosopher Albert Schweitzer, Phyllis Sellick, Soulima Stravinsky, Louise Talma (one of my beloved teachers), Alexander Tcherepnin,  and Beveridge Webster.

The first examples below are of Philipp himself playing.  The Allegro from Mozart K 459 is interesting, but not particuarly to my taste.  But chamber works are fine, and the performance of his own composition is very special in spite of its being from a piano roll.  What I wouldn't give to have heard him play the Liszt and Liapunov Transcendental Etudes.



Mozart  Piano Concerto 19 in F major, K 459
i Allegro
Jean-Baptiste Mari conducting the Pro Musica Orchestra

recorded in 1950




Saint-Saëns  Cello Sonata 1 in C minor, Op 32
with Paul Bazelaire, cello

recorded in 1934


i Allegro



ii Andante tranquillo sostenuto



iii Allegro moderato




Saint-Saëns  Violin Sonata 1 in D minor, Op 75
with André Pascal, violin

i Allegro agitato. Attacca
06:12ii Adagio
11:41iii Allegretto moderato. Attacca
15:39iv Allegro molto

recorded in 1934




Saint-Saëns  Scherzo for two pianos, Op 87
with Marcelle Herrenschmidt




Isidore Philipp  Pastel Op 24~3 "Feux follets"

Ampico piano roll




Here are more examples of Isidor Philipp, the composer, performed by other great pianists.  We begin with Guimar Novaes, arguably Philipp's greatest achievement as a teacher. She plays this work, dedicated to her by her teacher, in recordings from 1919 and 1952.  The two performances are very different.  I think I prefer the 1919 version, unless I am listening to the other.



"Feux Follets" Op 24~3
Guiomar Novaes, Brazilian pianist (1895 - 1979)


recorded in 1919



recorded in 1952




Caprice en double notes in F major
Jeanne-Marie Darré, French pianist (1905 - 1999)




from 3 Études de concert en doubles notes, Op 56
Ida-Marie-Louise Périn, French pianist (1906 - ?)

2 in D major (dedicated to Marcelle Herrenschmidt)
1 in F major (dedicated to Guiomar Novaés)

recorded in 1929 on an Érard concert grand










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



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