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JACQUELINE EYMAR (1922 - 2008)
French pianist



Jacqueline Eymar was a student of Yves Nat, a French pianist of almost cultish renown and through whose recordings I was introduced to secrets of the Beethoven sonatas as a teenager.

Her recordings of Fauré are a must for those who love his music.  Fauré suffers from what I refer to as the Liszt syndrome, so often painted with a broad brush on the basis of a handful of overplayed - and so often poorly played - works.  In  the case of Fauré, it is perhaps because he chose to compose in a number of forms made glorious by Chopin: nocturne, impromptu, barcarolle, ballade, waltz and mazurka.  It is nearly impossible, on first hearing of these pieces,  not to compare them to those of the same name by Chopin, and not to find them wanting.  Pianists are equally susceptible, often trying to make them sound like Chopin, and failing miserably.  This music, if I dare to say it, is much more akin to Brahms in approach.  This is more apparent in the chamber works, but the works for piano are very Brahmsian, albeit in a very Gallic sort of way. 

Jacqueline Eymar's playing of these pieces does for Fauré what Louis Kentner does for Liszt. The end result is an interpretation of very beautiful and interesting music based entirely on it's own merits.  If you are familiar with this music, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised.  If not, you may well fall in love at first hearing

In sharp contrast to these (I hate the word salon applied to great music) shorter works, Jacqueline Eymar takes on two monuments of the piano literature, the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue by Franck and the Brahms Handel Variations, formidable performances both.

Jacqueline Eymar was also a first rate chamber musician. A number of her recordings of such music by Franck and Fauré are to be found below. This is wonderful music and all too rarely performed in the USA.

I must say something about her manner of playing.  The two videos of her playing Debussy give us a good view of her hands, a view that is to me like fingernails on a chalkboard.  How Jacqueline Eymar escaped injury (if she did) with the kind of tension perpetually evident in the hands and forearms is as much of a miracle as Horowitz's playing with fingers lying nearly flat on the keyboard

[Since creating this page, a number of the Youtube videos have either been removed or made private including the videos showing Eymar playing. What a shame.]



Franck  Prélude, Choral et Fugue, Op 21


Choral

recorded in the 1950s




Brahms  Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op 24

recorded in 1957




Fauré

Nocturne 1 in E minor, Op 33~1
06:54 ➢ Impromptu 2 in F minor/major, Op 31
10:33 ➢ Barcarolle 2 in G major, Op 41
16:58 ➢ Impromptu 5 in F♯ minor, Op 102
19:07 ➢ Nocturne 6 in D major, Op 63
28:12 ➢ Valse-Caprice 3 in G major, Op 59

recorded ca1957-1958




Franck Piano Quintet in F minor
i Molto moderato quasi lento. Allegro

recorded in 1955 with the Loewenguth Quartet




Fauré  Piano Quartet 1 in C minor, Op 15

i Allegro moderato
09:39ii Scherzo
15:00iii Adagio
21:19iv Allegro molto

recorded in 1966 with Günter Kehr, violin - Erich Sichermann, viola - Bernhard Braunholz, cello




Fauré  Piano Quartet 2 in G minor, Op 45

with Günter Kehr, violin - Erich Sichermann, viola - Bernhard Braunholz, cello


i Allegro molto moderato




ii Allegro molto




iii Adagio non troppo




iv Allegro molto




Fauré  Piano Quintet 1 in D minor, Op 89

i Molto moderato
11:59ii Adagio
23:35iii Allegro moderato

recorded in 1966 with Günter Kehr, violin - Erich Sichermann, viola - Bernhard Braunholz, cello










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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