Marcelle Meyer

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maestrob
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Marcelle Meyer

Post by maestrob » Sat May 05, 2018 2:19 pm

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While browsing on amazon, I discovered this set of Marcelle Meyer's complete recordings for EMI, 1925-1957. Has anyone heard of this pianist, and should I buy the box? I've heard that her Scarlatti is superb, and there are two discs of that composer in the box.

jserraglio
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by jserraglio » Sat May 05, 2018 2:50 pm

I picked up a 10-disc box of EMI's Les Introuvables de Marcelle Meyer, vols 1-2 of 3, on sale many years ago and have never regretted it. The newer 17-disc set is supposed to have better sound and includes most of her studio output, plus 3 or 4 live discs released by the now defunct label, Tahra.

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A very knowledgeable pianist, online friend of mine from Argentina on another board, described the 3 volumes of Introuvables as "the first lot in which I heard Marcelle Meyer for the first time and the most scintillating, versatile and articulate pianist I had heard in a long time . . . . I love her playing so much, that I will go to the ends of the earth to hear something by her."

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Last edited by jserraglio on Sat May 05, 2018 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by jserraglio » Sat May 05, 2018 3:22 pm

http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Meyer-Marcelle.htm wrote:The French pianist, Marcelle Meyer, received her first piano lessons at the age of five from her sister Germaine, nine years older and herself an excellent pianist. Marcelle entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1911 at the age of fourteen enrolling first in Marguerite Long's class. She quickly changed to Alfred Cortot's class who was to guide her to her Premiers Prix in 1913. She played her Camille Saint-Saëns concerto so wonderfully that Alfred Cortot threw himself onto the stage to kiss her. A period under the tutelage of Ricardo Viñes opened her up to the world of Ravel. However she received her essential lessons in Spanish music not from Viñes but from José Iturbi. In 1917, her marriage to the actor Pierre Bertin introduced Marcelle Meyer into the circle of Eric Satie and his friends. Responsible for presenting Satie's Piège de Méduse, Bertin was a vibrant and talented character who moved freely between the theatrical and musical worlds of Paris. Meyer immediately became Satie's favourite pianist. He called her his 'pretty little lady'. She was still only twenty years old. She worked with Debussy shortly before his death on his Préludes and was the first to play them in recital at Salle Gaveau, a recital notable also for being the first devoted wholly to Debussy's work.

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In 1918, at a Lyre et Palletes concert (a series of concerts where artists and musicians could meet), Marcelle Meyer gave the debut performance of Francis Poulenc's Sonata for Piano Four Hands with the composer at her side. This was the beginning of a life-long friendship. She would premier several of his works - the Impromptus in Brussels in 1921 (F. Poulenc absolutely wild with joy!), Napoli in May 1926 and Mélancolie in May 1941. It is no surprise that he was her partner in the recording of Chabrier's Valses Romantiques on the DF LP set. During the same season she played works by Louis Durey (a lesser known member of the 'Six'), the rare melodies Images to Crusoë with her husband and Auric's Carillons et Neige with the composer. In April 1920 Ravel invited her to play with him a two piano version of La Valse privately before Stravinsky, Diaghilev and F. Poulenc. Other notable creations the same year were Milhaud's Printemps for solo piano and the controversial Five Studies for Piano and Orchestra under the Vladimir Grolschmann. Despite the noise made by the scandalised audience, and to Milhaud's great satisfaction, Meyer never faltered. Diaghilev found Marcelle Meyer as enchanting as a Modigliani - "If she can play as well as she is beautiful.." he was heard to comment. After seeing her perform Ravel's Jeux d'Eaux and Alborada del Gracioso, he was totally convinced and immediately engaged her to play one of the two piano parts in his production of Satie's Parade. Not only was she regarded as a faithful and brilliant pianist but for most French composers of the early 20th century, she was their muse. A modest and delightful person, she remained a close and indispensable performer for the Groupe des Six, Ravel and Stravinsky, ignoring the inevitable personal quarrels and never taking sides. She served their music with an equal and total devotion - and always avoided over-playing the score. In 1921 she was asked by Stravinsky to play one of the extremely difficult piano parts from Petrouchka under the direction of Monteux - without rehearsal. For the composer it was "a reference performance". In June 1923, Meyer, Auric and F. Poulenc played three of the four piano parts of Stravinsky's Les Noces. The same year, at a concert at the Sorbonne devoted to the newly formed Ecole d'Arcueil (Satie's circle), she premiered the work of a young composer and protégé of Désormière – Henri Sauguet's Trois Françaises for piano. To be able to serve and associate with composers of such different personality and aesthetic as Ravel, Stravinsky, Sauget, F. Poulenc or Satie (the latter three being notably 'anti Ravelian') without friction, tells us more about Marcelle Meyer than a thousand words. Marcelle Meyer made her first recording in 1925, in England – Stravinsky's Piano Rag Music and Albeniz' Navarra. She premiered Stravinsky's Serenade for Piano.

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In the late 1920's her career took a more international turn, invited by Willem Mengelberg to Amsterdam, by Thomas Beecham to London, by Ernest Ansermet, Adrian Boult, Monteux. In 1930 she was invited to Budapest by Richard Strauss to play his Burleske under his direction at a festival devoted to his work. She was one of the few pianists invited to play at the 10th Salzburg Festival. In contrast her career at home seemed very low-key indeed. Marcelle Meyer was rarely invited by any of the French musical associations - between the two wars she played at the old Société Nationale only once, in April 1920, with a performance of Debussy's En Blanc et Noir with Juliette Meerowitch on second piano). She was invited twice to play by the Société Triton - in April 1937 at the Ecole Normale she took part in Delannoy's Rhapsody for Saxophone, Trumpet, Cello and Piano, and in Ravel's Trio. On Febuary 6, 1939, she gave the premier of Roland-Manuel's Concertino for Piano and Orchestra under Rosenthal. At the Société La Sérénade it was no better. In May 1932 she gave the debut performance of the Partita for Piano and Orchestra by the newly discovered young composer, Igor Markevitch, conducted by Désormière. In February 1938 a recital featuring the Ravel Trio and Paul Hindemith's Sonata for Flute and Piano. Having divorced Bertin in 1937, she married Carlo Di Vieto, an Italian lawyer in 1932, with whom she would have two daughters. Her last major musical creation before World War II was Milhaud's Scaramouche in 1937 with Ida Jankelevitch on second piano. Incredibly Marcelle Meyer did not receive an invitation to play at the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire until 1940. In November she played Franck's Symphonic Variations under Charles Munch. In March 1941 she was again one of the four pianos for Les Noces, together with Février, F. Poulenc and Stravinsky himself, and in May, again with Charles Munch, Arthur Honegger's Piano Concerto. In 1948 she repeated the Franck under André Cluytens with Strauss' Burleske. This year she established herself with her family in Rome. The Italian tour in November with Cluytens and Mainardi, seemed to serve as a transition between her 'French' and her 'Italian' careers, for as she had served French composers so would she celebrate and champion the Italians, befriending and performing the works of Dallapiccola, Veretti, Rieti, Petrassi and Alfredo Casella, while continuing to play with such figures as Kletzki, Herbert von Karajan and Hermann Scherchen through the 1950's.

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One of Marcelle Meyer's greatest adventures also began at the end of the 1940's, and indeed her greatest legacy – her collaboration with Les Discophiles Français and the sound engineer André Charlin. It was for this label she made the greater part of her recordings, producing some of the most remarkable records ever devoted to French music. But not only do we have François Couperin, Chabrier, Debussy, Ravel and Rameau, there is also Scarlatti, Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Stravinsky. For an artist who was at the forefront of the music of her day and centre of her circle, it is interesting to see how she could embrace the composers of the eighteenth century. Her phrasing pure and fluid, capturing the deep spirit of the music, never allowing the ornament to interrupt the melodic line, her rediscovery and reinstatement of Rameau was perhaps her most miraculous achievement. However, Mozart was always her first artistic love.

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On November 17, 1958 Marcelle Meyer died suddenly at the piano while staying at her sister's apartment. After a career confined to the Old World, at the invitation of Dimitri Mitropoulos she had been planning a tour of North America. From her focal involvement in the post First War musical avant-garde during the heady 1920's, to her startling reappraisal of a decidedly unfashionable classical tradition in the 1950's, her life had been rich beyond words.
Last edited by jserraglio on Sat May 05, 2018 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jserraglio
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by jserraglio » Sat May 05, 2018 3:26 pm

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Rémi Jacob, Hugh Graham, trans., from the 17-CD EMI Booklet wrote:Henri Screpel, who founded the Discophiles Français in 1941, wanted to distinguish himself from other record-making enterprises by deliberatery choosing to record little-know artists. Immediatly affter the war he set his sights on a French pianist who had been intimately linked with the musical life of the foregoing period but had pratically never gone into the studio, except in 1925 in London for His Master's Voice, at the end of the 20s for French Columbia and Pleyel, and in the 30s for the Gramophone Company. In May and November 1946, Marcelle Meyer recorded 34 sides of Bach, Rameau, Scarlatti and Couperin. Debussy and Ravel followed soon afterwards, more Scarlatti then Mozart and Schubert. Between 1952 and 1957 she offered the record-buying public Rameau's Pièces, works by Chabrier, Ravel, Debussy (wich long remained unpublished), the piano works of Stravinsky and a selection of thirty Scarlatti sonatas. Marcelle Meyer died in the same year that the Discophiles Français ceased their activities. Eventually it has fallen to EMI France, wich is now the custodian of the Discophiles Français material, to assemble the recordings the artist made in the studio. Numerous obstacles arose during the preparation of this complete edition, because of the absence of reliable archives : for example, there were uncertain datings and the probable misidentification of some recording venues. From the technical poit of view, the restoration of the 78s was often made difficult and sometimes unsatisfactory by irrefular speeds, by 'wow" at the ends of sides, and by substantial variations in sound levels — many, many problems, wich had to be resolved by means of sometimes painful compromises.
On every track, Marcelle Meyer's inimitable talent shines through, with its spontaneity, understanding of the musical text and mastery of phrasing and sonority. Without a doubt, this edition will restore to this eminent artist the place she deserves in the pantheon of French pianists of the twentieth century, that is to say up there with the greatest, and on the same exalted level.
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Last edited by jserraglio on Sat May 05, 2018 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John F
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by John F » Sat May 05, 2018 3:26 pm

I picked up a couple of EMI LP sets of her recordings of French music (no Scarlatti). She is an honest musician for sure, but not for me a revelatory one. Nonetheless she is historically important for her association with 20th century French composers and premieres of their music, which they approved. One of those musicians like Ricardo Viñes and Jane Bathori who don't bowl you over but should be heard.
John Francis

jserraglio
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by jserraglio » Sat May 05, 2018 3:44 pm

She is historically and honestly revelatory.


Holden Fourth
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat May 05, 2018 10:20 pm

I have a CD of her playing Scarlatti - it's excellent.

Lance
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by Lance » Sat May 05, 2018 11:58 pm

I know this pianist well, and have enjoyed Marcelle Meyer's art since I first heard her. It started with a bunch of EMI's Rarissime and Introuvable multi-disc sets. I was hooked. Finally EMI released the complete EMI, Hispavox, and Discophiles Francais recordings in one box of 17 CDs. The picture of the 17 CD boxed set at the top comes from Membran/Intense who apparently copied either all the original recordings from 78s and LPs OR copied EMI's complete 17-CD set. (I'm not sure how Membran is getting away with this, despite copyright infringement regulations, even in Europe since the EMI set was reissued—either 2007 or 2008—much more recently and might still be under copyright even if older material. Not sure how that works.) From my point of view, despite the cost, I would rather go with the EMI set who worked from the original recordings themselves.

IMHO, a very fine French pianist.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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CharmNewton
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by CharmNewton » Sun May 06, 2018 1:07 am

I understand that Membran licensed this set from Warner as well as the Yves Nat complete edition, which contains an excellent complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle.

The Marcelle Meyer collection is not quite complete. She made two recordings of Mozart's Sonata, K. 310. The second recording is in the Introuvables collection while the first recording is included in the complete edition. Her Mozart can be intense. So can her Debussy.

I had an LP of her playing Scarlatti, which was how I became familiar with her playing. Unfortunately, that LP was beat-up beyond redemption. Lovely gatefold packaging. The only vinyl of hers I've ever run across.

John

jserraglio
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by jserraglio » Sun May 06, 2018 2:44 am

Holden Fourth wrote:
Sat May 05, 2018 10:20 pm
I have a CD of her playing Scarlatti - it's excellent.



maestrob
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by maestrob » Sun May 06, 2018 11:46 am

Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm definitely getting this set! :D

Lance
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Re: Marcelle Meyer

Post by Lance » Mon May 07, 2018 12:24 am

Thank you for this information, John. I have both the Meyer and the Nat as issued in the big sets by EMI. Must be Membran is applying for licensing on some of those sets that are not favourites with the bulk of collectors who may not even know the names very well. I recently acquired a set of 10 discs on Membran licensed from Telefunken taken from the original tapes of cellist Ludwig Hoelscher. A truly outstanding set. So, apparently other companies are allowing Membran to issue their recordings especially if there is no intent to issue them under their own label.
CharmNewton wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 1:07 am
I understand that Membran licensed this set from Warner as well as the Yves Nat complete edition, which contains an excellent complete Beethoven piano sonata cycle.

The Marcelle Meyer collection is not quite complete. She made two recordings of Mozart's Sonata, K. 310. The second recording is in the Introuvables collection while the first recording is included in the complete edition. Her Mozart can be intense. So can her Debussy.

I had an LP of her playing Scarlatti, which was how I became familiar with her playing. Unfortunately, that LP was beat-up beyond redemption. Lovely gatefold packaging. The only vinyl of hers I've ever run across.

John
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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