Lucette Descaves was a student of the Paris Conservatory when Gabriel Fauré was the director of that august institution. She subsequently became assistant to Yves Nat, eventually taking over his piano class. Marguerite Long considered Descaves to be her spirituel heir. Her own pupils numbered Bruno Fabius, Brigitte Engerer, Bruno Rigutto, Katia et Marielle Labèque, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Pascal Rogé.
She worked closely with a number of the most significant composers of her time including Prokofiev, Martinu, Albert Roussel and Arthur Honegger.
The recording of the etude by Gabriel Pierné amply demonstrates her extraordinary technique and infinitely subtle control over tone, dynamics and articulaion.
The piano concerto by André Jolivet that is offered below was written for her. Lucette Descaves was as much in her element with the music of her contemporaries as she was with the music of Mozart.
Since there are so few examples of her playing, I have included an excerpt from the Scaramouche suite for two pianos by Darius Milhaud which has some nice shots of her playing.
Mozart Thème & 12 Variations, K 354 "Je suis Lindor"
recorded in 1956
Pierné Etude de concert, Op 13
Jolivet Concerto for piano and orchestra (1951)
i Allegro deciso - ii Senza rigore - iii Allegro frenetico
Ernest Bour conducting l'Orchestre Radio-Symphonique de Strasbourg
recorded live in 1968
Milhaud "Scaramouche" Suite for two pianos, Op 165b
recorded in 1957 with pianist Bruno Fabius
For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background
which is also available as an audiobook.
And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:
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