P1101. MARCELLE MEYER: Bach, Milhaud, Ravel, Albéniz & de Falla. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-222, recorded 1925-47. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Marcelle Meyer was, without a doubt, one of the most important pianists of the 20th century. She was a woman of tremendous influence. The favourite pianist of Les Six, she is featured as the central figure in a portrait of that group and Jean Cocteau by Jacques-Émile Blanche. She played the private première of 'La Valse' with Ravel at the other piano, and worked with Debussy himself on his Préludes and gave the first ever all-Debussy recital. When Stravinsky met her, he said, ‘Ah yes, Ravel spoke to me about you’, and she subsequently performed in the première of 'Les Noce', and 'Petroushka', without rehearsal and completely to the composer's satisfaction. Milhaud and Poulenc were among the many other composers who respected her and with whom she performed. Given her involvement in early 20th century piano music and her much admired playing, it seems strange that, to date, no biography has been written about this outstanding woman.
According to her daughter, Meyer never spoke of being a representative of a particular tradition of playing. Nevertheless, she was a direct and profound link to a vitally important period of musical history. Her studies with Ricardo Vines - the preferred pianist of Debussy, Ravel, and De Falla - are most noticeable and profound in her playing. Listening to Vines' own few records, one hears that directness, clear phrasing, and textured voicing that characterize Meyer's performances of French and Spanish music. They both had an approach to timing and voicing that highlights the sensual nature of such works - a delicately teasing pull without distorting the line, a sensual undertone played with disarming directness."
- Mark Ainley
"In her day Marcelle Meyer was the doyenne of French piano. Cortot admired her and she performed Ravel and Couperin. She had a vast repertoire that extended from the Baroque to contemporary composers like Stravinsky and she left a considerable recorded legacy.
If you have never heard her, Meyer's playing was wonderfully elegant and fluid. Her touch was subtle, her phrasing refined and her pedaling gorgeous - and only occasionally more generous than modern tastes tend to allow. There are times when one would wish for more fire and a greater sense of dynamic contrast, but it is hard not to be won over by her intelligent and musical interpretations."
- Ned Ludd
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent’s natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011