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PHYLLIS SELLICK
British pianist (1911 - 2007)



Phyllis Sellick studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music, and later with Isidor Philipp in Paris.  She married British pianist Cyril Smith with whom she performed four hand piano misic.  In 1956, Smith suffered a stoke that parayzed his leftt arm. Thereafter the couple continued to perform, arranging music for three hands.

A number of important composers composed works especially for them including Sir Malcolm Arnold, Sir Arthur Bliss, Gordon Jacob, Lennox Berkeley and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Works for piano (three hands) and orchestra by Arnold and Jabob are included on the Cyril Smith page, as is a very lovely performance of the Schubert Fantasy in F minor for three hands they made shortly befire his death.

Phyllis Sellick's performance of Daquin'e Le Coucou and Rameau's Les tendres plaintes are perfect examples of what can be achieved when a pianist incorporates elements of pianism from a later age without clashing with the essence of much earlier music. Her very subtle use of crescendo and rubato turn these well known pieces of the Baroque era from the charming to the sublime.

Her brilliant playing of the great French composers continues with works by Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc.  The Toccata by Ravel is just wonderful. And the Debussy . . . Well let's just say that for me to prefer her performance to that by Moura Lympany says it all.

I suspect that had she not married Cyril Smith and devoted herself to a career as a solo concert pianist, she would today be considered one of the great women pianists of the 20th century.



Rameau  "Les tendres plaintes"




Daquin  "Le Coucou"

recorded in 1941




Debussy  Feux d'artifice from Preludes, Book 2

Adele Marcus
03:33 ➢ Phyllis Sellick
07:50 ➢ Moura Lympany




Ravel  Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin

Marcelle Meyer
03:55 ➢ Madeleine de Valmalète
07:50 ➢ Yvonne Lefébure
11:47 ➢ Reine Gianoli
15:53 ➢ Phyllis Sellick
19:42 ➢ Frieda Valenzi
24:18 ➢ Monique Haas
28:25 ➢ Moura Lympany




Poulenc  Adagietto from Les biches, suite for piano, FP 36




Poulenc  Pastourelle, FP 45 (arr piano)




Tippett  Piano Sonata 1 (1938)

i Allegro
08:11ii Andante tranquillo
12:39iii Presto
16:32 ➢ iv Rondo - Giocoso con moto

recorded in the 1940s










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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