Marcelle Meyer, Vol. IX;  Manuel Rosenthal   (2-St Laurent Studio YSL 33-1270)
Item# P1414
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Marcelle Meyer, Vol. IX;  Manuel Rosenthal   (2-St Laurent Studio YSL 33-1270)
P1414. MARCELLE MEYER: Scarlatti, Debussy & Chopin; w.Manuel Rosenthal Cond. RTF S.O.: Piano Concerto #3 (Rieti). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL 33-1270, recorded 1955-57. 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

“Rosenthal’s conducting career began in 1934, when he became a percussionist and assistant conductor of the Orchestre National de France, to Désiré-Emile Inghelbrecht. Rosenthal's musical career was interrupted by WWII, when he became a prisoner of war in 1940. Upon his liberation in 1944, he returned to the Orchestre National de France to become their principal conductor, a post he would hold until 1947. In his final year with the orchestra he brought them to join Sir Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic in a concert that filled the Harringay Arena with 13,500 listeners. His other later posts included music director of the Seattle Symphony from 1948-1951 and music director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Liège from 1964-1967. Rosenthal also served as professor of conducting at the Paris Conservatoire from 1962 to 1974.

Rosenthal composed works in all classical forms, including operas, operettas, ballets, 13 works for orchestra, choral works with orchestra and a capella, works for solo voice and orchestra, chamber music, music for voice and piano, and solo piano music. His reputation was sealed in France with JEANNE d'ARC, first performed in 1936, although this was followed by a production of the light-hearted one-act operetta LA POULE NOIRE of 1937. However, his best-known work as a composer was the 1938 ballet GAÎTÉ PARISIENNE, which he arranged based on the music of Jacques Offenbach. The commission by Léonide Massine was originally meant for Roger Désormière, but for lack of time, Désormière asked Rosenthal, a friend, to undertake the arrangement. Rosenthal was initially reluctant, but fulfilled the commission. Massine then rejected the score, but after arbitration by Igor Stravinsky, finally accepted the work and choreographed the ballet, which was a major success.”

- Zillah D. Akron

“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