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Pianistes Françaises
CD 1 [67:54]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1809-1847)
Waltzes Op. 64 No. 1 [1:52] No.2 [3:09]
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)
Mazurka No.4 [2:45]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47)
Fantaisie Caprice Op. 16 No. 2 [2:25]
Rondo capriccioso Op.14 [3:31]
Romance sans paroles (la fileuse) Op.67 No.34 [1:47]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11 – extract only [2:29]
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 – extract only [1:51]
Aimée Marie Roger-Miclos (piano)
Fonotipia recordings c. 1905
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1809-1847)
Mazurka Op. 17 No. 4 [3:23]
Nocturne posthume [3:26]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) [attributed]
Pastorale variée [4:15]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)
Granada [4:24]
Recorded Interview – RSR Archive, 19 April 1951
Marie Panthès (piano)
Columbia recordings 1934-36 and the interview issued by courtesy of Radio Suisse Allemande
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1809-1847)
Mazurkas Op. 56/2 [1:35] Op. 6/2 [2:27] Op 7/3 [2:36] Op. 63/2 [1:33] Op. 67/7 [1:33] Op. 17/4 [4:07] Op. 33/2 [2:21] Op. 30/3 [2:53] Op. 68/4 [1:46] Op. 41/3 [1:07] Op. 50/3 [4:56]
Youra Guller (piano)
recorded in June 1956
CD 2 [74:24]
Pièces de clavecin 3eme livre No.12 La de Valmalète [3:17]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685–1757)
Sonata L 465 D96 [3:34]
Sonata L 23 K380 [2:33]
Sonata L 391 K39 [2:27]
François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Pièces de clavecin - 3ème livre, 14ème ordre No.7 - Le carillon de Cythère [3:47]
Pièces de clavecin - 1er livre, 1er ordre No.17 – La fleurie [2:49]
Pièces de clavecin - 1er livre, 4ème ordre No.4  – Le réveil matin [3:21]
Pièces de clavecin – 2ème livre, 6ème ordre No.5 - Les barricades mysterieuses [2:22]
Pièces de clavecin – 3ème livre, 18ème ordre No.6 - Le tic-toc- choc [2:03]
Pièces de clavecin – 3ème livre 17ème ordre No.2 - Les petits moulins à vent [1:50]
Madeleine de Valmalète (piano)
recording date unknown
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) – Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924)
Chaconne from Partita No 2 for solo violin BWV 1004 [13:59
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Mephisto Waltz No. 1 [11:00]
Rapsodie espagnole [13:33]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Phantasiestücke Op. 12/1 [3:40] and Op. 12/3 [3:06]
Agnelle Bundervoët (piano)
rec. 1954, 1955 and 1957
TAHRA TAH653-654 [67:54 +74:24]


Experience Classicsonline

A remarkably interesting survey of the recordings of a quintet of French women pianists occupies two well-filled discs. The first to come under scrutiny is Aimée Marie Roger-Miclos, none of whose Fonotipias, recorded c.1905, I can recollect having seen on CD before. I’ve certainly not come across them. Born in 1860 hers was a major career and she took on big concertos as well as championing chamber and solo music. It’s of the highest interest to hear the metrical freedom, and the intelligent caprice of her phrasing of the Chopin Waltzes, especially Op. 64 No. 1. Rubati are extremely pronounced but imagination is the key and the clarity and colour of her playing pays testament to her teaching and to well-established French traditions. Her Godard is intoxicatingly personalised whilst the desynchronised hands are perhaps most evident in the second of the waltzes she essays, Op.64 No.2. Her Mendelssohn remains warmly textured and tonally unexaggerated whilst the extracts from the two Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies indicate the more venturesome capacities she possessed. These Fonotipias are in excellent shape and sound very well – none of that
Paris turntable instability that afflicted so many other sessions for the French branch of G&T. 


Marie Panthes (1871-1955) was eleven years younger than Roger-Miclos and from a Russian background. Her playing is uneven. The Chopin Mazurka, recorded in 1936, has a rather showy, attention-seeking quality to it whilst the Nocturne feasts on a booming bass.  The Mozart-attributed piece and the Albéniz seem on this showing rather more representative of her better, more artistic side. There’s a four-minute interview conducted four years before her death, which will please all those who like to hear the speaking voices of musicians.


Youra Guller is becoming something of a Tahra mini-speciality (see review).  The remainder of the first disc is given over to her beautiful performances of Chopin Mazurkas. Everything that was wrong in Panthes’s performances of Op.17 No.4 is right in Guller’s. And parenthetically I think that this selection far better represents her than the Chopin items presented on TAH630. Here in 1956 she is subtle, unaffected, full of the moods and shifting colours and patterns of the Mazurkas. It’s most impressive playing.


The second disc shows us Madeleine de Valmalète, another admired but these days overlooked musician. She lived to a great age – born in 1899 and dying in 1999. Admired by Saint-Saëns she formed an esteemed piano trio (the Trio de Paris) and recorded for Polydor in Germany before the war. The private performances in this Tahra disc are undated and predominately given over to Couperin and Scarlatti. The amateur recording set up was not helpful to her tone  - it can be painfully close-up at times – but we can still appreciate some splendid finger precision and touch. There’s some flutter on the tape of La Fleurie [track 6] but the sequence is well chosen to highlight her gifts. Finally we have some tremendous performances from Agnelle Bundervoët made in the mid 1950s for Ducretet-Thomson. Her Bach-Busoni Chaconne hasn’t the icy perfection of Michelangeli’s but has a greater sense of expressive warmth – evidenced by one or two moments of excessive rushing. This sense of excitement and technical control is further reinforced by the Liszt brace; her more obviously poetic instincts by the Schumann pieces with which her part of the programme ends. With her, virtuosity was never an externalised component; it was indivisible from her artistic persona and she is a musician of the highest calibre, Born in 1922 she is still alive.


Tahra’s discs come with an extensive fifty-six page booklet, all but the last ten or so of which are in French. There are full French biographies and very much smaller English summaries.  In short this is an undertaking of real value and virtue; transfers are splendid even if some of the private material is a little rough; enthusiasm for its contents seldom flags or palls.


Jonathan Woolf


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