MARCELLE MEYER (1897-1958)
French Pianist

Marcelle Meyer could play Bach with infinite delicacy and poetry.  Her Scarlatti was perfect.  And when she played the Trois Movements de Petrouchka is sounded like ballet music rather than a fiendishly difficult transcription for piano.  Marcelle Meyer's playing of the great French Baroque masters, Rameau and Couperin, offers insights into this music rarely permitted by others whose lack of understanding of the meaning of the ornaments and what to do with them so often renders the music insignificant.

One could go on, waxing eloquent on the subject of Marcelle Meyer's Ravel, her Debussy, her Mozart, but why not listen to her playing instead.  Here are wonders of piano playing, perfection of a kind not often heard today.

Marcelle Meyer's performances of music by Bach and Romantic composers which alone demonstrate the breadth of her range, her playing of the Spanish composers, Albeniz and de Falla, is wonderful, and follow with her brilliant recordings of Debussy, Ravel, Chabrier and Poulenc.  The recordings of works by Chabrier that she left behind are a particular treat because his music is so seldom performed outside of France, and while it is not of the caliber of the music of the other composers represented here, it is nonetheless worthy of discovery.

Although I have found only one recording of her playing Chopin, Marcelle Meyer's performance of the Barcarolle is one of the best I have ever heard.  And wait until you hear her recording of the complete "Nights in the Gardens of Spain".  it is too wonderful for words.

[I am sad to say that once again, the shortsighted protectors of copyrighted material have cut off their noses to spite their faces. There were numerous recordings of the piano music of Chabrier and Mozart, and stunning performances of Brahms that are now denied to us.  Do they not understand that making these performances available to a large number of people who are not familiar with, or have never heard of, Marcelle Meyer might actually promote the sale of their precious CDs. They spend masses of money for advertising and then reject free advertising because of an outdated concept to which they cleave. Well, snuggle up to your copyrights boys, and keep on releasing CDs by artists who are and will continue to be virtually unknown in many of the worlds largest markets.]

Marcelle Meyer the soloist is a marvel.  I have found only five performances of her playing with orchestra, but these include two concerti by Mozart, the Emperor by Beethoven, the Burleske by Richard Strauss, and de Falla's all too infrequently performed masterpiece of a tone painting, Nights in the Gardens of Spain. [One of the Mozart concerti and the Emperor have now also been removed.]

Couperin  Pièces de Clavecin

Dodo ou l'Amour en berceau
02:42  Le tic choc ou le maillotins
04:35  Les fauvettes plaintives
08:28  La muse plantine
10:45  L'Arlequine
11:49  Les ombres errantes
14:09  Les barricades mistèrieuses
15:35  Les folies françaises ou les Dominos
21:48 Passacaille

recorded in 1946

Rameau  Suite in E minor (1724)

1 Menuet en rondeau
00:43  2 Allemande
03:13  3 Courante
04:56  4 Gigue en Rondeau 1
06:33  5 Gigue en Rondeau 2
08:52  6 Le Rappel des oiseaux
11:50  7 Rigaudons 1 & 2
12:56  8 Musette en rondeau
14:49  9 Tambourin
16:10  10 La Villageoise (rondeau)

Rameau  Gavotte avec ses doubles

recorded in 1946

Rameau  Les Tendres Plaintes

recorded in 1946

Rameau  Fanfarinette from Suite in A minor

recorded in 1953

Bach  Two Part Inventions, BWV 772-786

1 in C major BWV 772 - 01:012 in C minor BWV 773 - 02:153 in D major BWV 774 - 03:134 in D minor BWV 775
03:565 in E major BWV 776 - 05:306 in E major BWV 777  - 08:207 in E minor BWV 778 - 09:488 in F major BWV 779
10:329 in F minor BWV 780 - 12:1210 in G major BWV 781 - 13:0811 in G minor BWV 782 - 14:1812 in A major BWV 783
15:2413 in A minor BWV 784 - 16:1714 in Bmajor BWV 785 - 17:3815 in G minor BWV 786

recorded in 1948

Bach  Three Part Inventions, BWV 787-801

1 in C major BWV 787 - 00:582 in C minor BWV 788 - 02:383 in D major BWV 789 - 03:434 in D minor BWV 790
05:405 in E major BWV 791 - 08:176 in E major BWV 792 - 09:267 in E minor BWV 793 - 11:338 in F major BWV 794
12:339 in F minor BWV 795 - 15:4110 in G major BWV 796 - 16:3511 in G minor BWV 797 - 18:2612 in A major BWV 798
13 in A minor BWV 799 - 21:1414 in G major BWV 800 - 22:3815 in G minor BWV 801

recorded in 1948

Bach  English Suite 4 in F major, BWV 809

04:16  Allemande
06:13  Courante
07:46  Sarabande
10:25  Menuets I&II
13:10  Gigue

recorded in 1948

Bach  Partita 1 in B♭ major, BWV 825

0139  Allemande
03:58  Courante
06:37  Sarabande
11:14  Menuet I & II
13:02  Gigue

recorded in 1946

Bach  Partita 6 in E minor, BWV 830

06:28  Allemande
09:02  Courante
12:34  Air 
13:47  Sarabande 
19:06  Tempo di gavotte
21:09  Gigue

recorded in 1947

Bach  Toccatas & Fantaisie et fugue

Toccata in F minor, BWV 910
Introduction - Lentamente - Presto e staccato - Fugato

08:22 ➢ Toccata in C minor, BWV 911
Introduction - Adagio - Fugue

17:55 ➢ Toccata in D major, BWV 912
Presto - Allegro - Adagio - fugato - adagio - Fuga

28:35 ➢ Fantaisy and Fugue in A minor, BWV 904

recorded in 1946

Bach  from Toccata in D minor, BWV 913

iii Adagio
iv Allegro (fugato)

Scarlatti  7 Keyboard Sonatas

Sonata in D major, K 478
Sonata in  D major, K 492
Sonata in E major, K 380
Sonata in B minor, K 27
Sonata in B minor, K 245
Sonata in D min0r, K 32
Sonata inA minor, K 175

recorded in the late 1940s through the mid 1950s

Scarlatti  4 Keyboard Sonatas

Sonata in B flat major, K 202
03:12  Sonata in D major, K 29
07:55  Sonata in B minor,  K377
10:34  Sonata in G major, K 523

recorded in 1954

Scarlatti  Keyboard Sonata in B minor, K 87

recorded in 1946

Rossini  "Un sauté" from "Péchés de vieillesse"

Vol V Album pour les enfants adolescents, 11 Un sauté (Stir-fry)

recorded in 1954

Schubert  Valses Nobles, D 969

recorded in 1953

Chopin  Barcarolle, Op 60

recorded in the 1950s

Chabrier  "Aubade"

recorded in 1955

Chabrier  Feuillet d'album

recorded in 1955

Albeniz  "Navarra"

recorded in 1925

Debussy  Préludes Book I

I Danseuses de Delphes
02:24  II Voiles
06:05  III Le vent dans la plaine
08:05  IV Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir
10:58  V Les collines d'Anacapri
13:32  VI Des pas sur la neige
18:07  VII Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest
21:26  VIII La fille aux cheveux de lin
23:25  IX a sérénade interrompue
25:45  X La cathédrale engloutie
31:25  XI La danse de Puck
34:00  XII Minstrels

recorded in 1956

Debussy  Préludes Book II

I Brouillards 
II Feuilles mortes 
III La puerta del Vino

IV Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses 
V Bruyères (Heather)
VI Général Lavine - eccentric

"La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune" (Lent)

recorded in 1947

Debussy  3 "Poissons d'or" from Images Book II

recorded in 1947

Debussy  Images Book I

recorded in 1957

1 "Reflets dans l'eau"

Debussy  Images Book II

recorded in 1957

1 "Cloches à travers les feuilles"

2 "Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut"
3 "Poissons d'or"

Debussy  L'Isle joyeuse (1904)

Debussy  Masques

Ravel  Sonatine
i Modéré
ii Mouvement de menuet
iii Animé

recorded in 1954

Ravel  Pavane pour une infante défunte

Ravel  Gaspard de la Nuit

I Ondine
06:15  II Le gibet
12:42  III Scarbo

recorded in 1954

Ravel   from Miroirs

1 "Noctuelles"

3 "Une barque sur l'ocean"
recorded in 1954

4 "Alborada del Gracioso" (Assez vif)
recorded in 1929

de Falla  "Miller's Dance" from El sombrero de tres picos

recorded in 1925

Stravinsky  Trois movements de Petrouchka

I Russian dance (Danse russe)
02:26  II Petrushka's room (Chez Petrouchka)
06:54  III The Shrovetide fair (Semaine grasse)

recorded in 1955

Poulenc  Trois Mouvements perpétuels
I Assez modéré
II Très modéré
III Alerte

recorded in 1925

Milhaud  Scaramouche for two pianos, Op 165b (1937)
Darius Milhaud, piano

I Vif
II Modéré
III Brazileira

recorded in 1938

Mozart  Piano Concerto 20 in D minor, K 466

i Allegro
14:13  ii Romanze
23:27  iii Rondo - Allegro assai

Maurice Hewitt conducting Orchestra Hewitt

recorded in 1953


R Strauss  Burleske in D minor
André Cluytens conducting l'Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire

recorded in 1943

de Falla  "Nights In The Gardens Of Spain"

i En el Generalife
ii Danza Lejana
iii En los Jardines de la Sierra de Córdoba

Mario Rossi conducting l'Orchestra di Roma della RAI

recorded live in 1958

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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