P0463. GERMAINE THYSSENS-VALENTIN: Prélude, choral et fugue in b; Prélude, aria et finale in E (both Franck); 9 Préludes, Op.103 (Fauré). (England) Testament Mono / Stereo SBT 1400, recorded by Ducretet-Thomson. Final copy! - 749677140021
"My review of Germaine Thyssens-Valentin's mono Fauré recordings discussed this unsung French pianist's career and the appeal her extremely rare discs once held for specialist collectors. Testament now has rescued her 1954 Franck sessions from oblivion. The warm, close-up recording quality is a bit dry and faded around the edges, but Thyssens-Valentin's infinite capacity for nuance and color comes through loud and clear. She rolls out the Prélude, choral et fugue's first two movements in expansive yet never dragging paragraphs, while giving inner voices and bass lines their full measure. In this context her brisk, decisive handling of the fugue is unexpected, and quite welcome. Thyssens-Valentin similarly avoids any hint of bombast in the Prélude, aria et finale. Her diversity of touch in the first movement serves Franck's maestoso and dolce markings beautifully. The finale's pianissimo broken octaves have a shimmering, disembodied quality, yet sustain plenty of inner fire. Surprisingly, the recorded ambience does not markedly improve for the Fauré Preludes Op. 103, taped in stereo. Once more, Thyssens-Valentin taps into Fauré's linear refinement and expressive reserve as if she were born to play his music. She keeps the first prélude's closely voiced textural components miraculously distinct and tosses off #2's rapid leggerissimo lines with feathery insouciance. Also, note the pianist's infectious lilt in #4's cross-rhythms and frequent two-note slurs, or how her subtle accentuation moves #5's alternating duplets and triplets over the bar lines. If you consider yourself a piano connoisseur of the most rarified sort, don't hesitate to acquire these performances before they disappear again for another half-century."
- Classics Today
"Thyssens-Valentin’s direct, graceful, unpretentious performances can seem soothingly maternal and imperturbable, infused with a seemingly lost sense of inner poise and tranquility. Her recordings, made in the 1950's for Ducretet-Thomson, were widely welcomed. Now Testament has added two more CDs of material from Ducretet-Thomson which can help round out an artistic portrait of Thyssens-Valentin. Perhaps the most telling of these performances – apart from the Fauré works which are predictably excellent – are pieces by Debussy."
- Benjamin Ivry, CLASSIC RECORD COLLECTOR, Spring, 2007
"In the playing of [the above] superb artist, we encounter all the qualities that make for a profoundly rewarding experience: wonderful tone and dynamics, color, delicacy, nuance, exquisite technical polish, and a complete identification with an eloquent expression of Fauré’s idiomatic style. Much of [Thyssens-Valentin’s] playing is quiet, whispered intimately rather than spoken…."
- David Mulbury, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Nov./Dec., 2002