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DAME MOURA LYMPANY (1916-2005)
English pianist



Dame Moura Lympany was an extraordinarily gifted pianist.  Had she been a man, hers would be a household name.  Nonetheless, she was awarded second prize in the 1938 Ysaÿe International Festival in Brussels.  To give you an idea of whom she competed against, Emil Gilels was the first prize winner with Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli only in seventh place. The jury included Arthur Rubinstein, Samuil Feinberg, Emil von Sauer, Ignaz Friedman, Walter Gieseking, Robert Casadesus, the reigning virtuosi of the time, and Arthur Bliss, an important English composer.

Her touch was sublime as was her phrasing and structural vision.  Just listen to Moura Lympany's Chopin which was exquisite, her Granados delicately Spanish, her Debussy oh so French, her Liszt a sparkling canvas, and her Rachmaninoff .... well, her Rachmaninoff!!

Probably the first great woman pianist to specialize in the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff, certainly the first pianist to record the complete Preludes which she did in 1945, Moura Lympany could play the most daunting passages without calling attention to their technical difficulties.  If you listen carefully to her playing you will discover polyphonies you never suspected.  Her ability to give each voice its own tonal quality was stunning.  That point at which one gasps because a pianist has managed a finger breaking passage is with her a moment of sheer incredulity because she has bent the piano to her will and made it resplendent with orchestral timbres.

Speaking of orchestral timbres, hearing Moura Lympany play concerti is something to behold.  So what do I really think of Dame Moura's playing?  Give a listen.



Bach  "Jesu, Joy of man's Desiring"
Cantata 147 "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben" BWV 147




Handel  "The Harmonious Blacksmith"
Air & Variations from Harpsichord Suite 5 in E major, HWV 430

[followed by a performance by Shura Cherkassky]




Daquin  "Le Coucou" from Première Livre de pièces de clavecin




Mozart  Piano Sonata 11 in A major, K 331
iii Rondo alla turca




Beethoven  "Für Elise" Bagatelle 25 in A minor (WoO 59)




Beethoven  Menuet in G major, WoO 10~2




Beethoven  Piano Sonata 14 in C minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op 27~2 "Moonlight"
i Adagio sostenuto




Schumann  Symphonic Etudes, Op 13

recorded in 1949


Theme and Etudes I-XI



XII and Finale




Schumann  7 "Träumerei" from Kinderszenen, Op 15




Schumann  7 "Vogel als Prophet" from Waldszenen, Op 82




Liszt  "Les Jeux d'Eaux a la Villa d'Este"

recorded in 1947




Liszt  Valse-Impromptu

recorded in 1963




Liszt  Transcendental Etude 5 "Feux Follets"

recorded in 1949




Liszt  Trois études de concert 3 "Un sospiro"




Liszt  Polonaise 2




Anton Rubinstein  Melody in F major
[followed @03:50 by the Art Tatum Trio rec 1952]

recorded in 1988




Brahms  Intermezzo in B minor, Op 117~2

recorded in 1952




Brahms  Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op 35 Book II

recorded in 1947




Balakirev  "Islamey" Fantaisie orientale

recorded in 1947




Dvorak  Humoreske
[followed by Art Tatum 1944 radio broadcast]

recorded in 1988




Chaminade  "Automne" Op 35~2




Albeniz-Godowsky  Tango in D Major

recorded in 1952




Debussy  "Claire de lune" from Suite Bergamasque




Debussy  "La fille aux cheveux de lin" from Préludes Book I




Debussy  "Reflets dans l'eau" from Images Book I




Debussy   "L'isle joyeuse"




Granados  "La Maja y el Roseñor"

recorded in 1963




Scriabin  Etude in D minor, Op 12~8




Rachmaninoff  Préludes


in C minor, Op 3~2 [from 5 Morceaux de fantaisie, Op 3]



Andante cantabile in D major, Op 23~4
[rec 1961]



Moderato in G major, Op 32~5
Maestoso in B major, Op 23~2
[rec 1952]



Preludes, Op 32
1 Allegro vivace in C major [rec 1993]
5 Moderato in G major [rec 1961]
12 Allegro in G minor [rec 1961]




Ravel  6 Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin [rec 1949]
[preceded by John Browning rec 1967]




Ravel  "Jeux d'eau"




Dohnányi  Capriccio in F minor, Op 28~6 (1916)

recorded in 1963




Prokofiev  Toccata (1915)

recorded in 1952




Poulenc  Novelette 1 in C major

recorded in 1943




Shostakovich  Three Fantastic Dances, Op 5 (1922)

recorded in 1950















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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