The pianist Jacqueline Eymar is another of the lesser-known performers to be explored on the Meloclassic label. Born in 1922 in Nice, she began lessons with her mother Blanche, who was an assistant to a Mme Audibert-Lambert, a pupil of Alfred Cortot, at the Nice Conservatory. Jacqueline then moved on to Yves Nat at the Paris Conservatoire, who regarded her as ‘the Ginette Neveu of the piano’. Nat instilled in her an approach which shunned mannerism and idiosyncrasy in favour of an objective respect for the composer. Eymer became a champion of Nat’s Piano Concerto. When her career finally got underway, her concert tours took her to the USA, South America and Asia.
As well as the staples, her repertoire embraced the work of such contemporaries as André Jolivet, George Migot and Serge Nigg, steering clear of more ‘advanced’ music. Chamber music also played a large part in her career. She made a limited number of recordings, including Le Zodiaque by Migot, which won the Grand Prix du Disque (1960-61). Retiring in the 1980s, she died in 2008, aged eighty-seven.
It's in the three Mozart Piano Sonatas that Eymar makes a notable and lasting impression. Clean lines, vocal projection, of which the Andante of K283 is a case in point, and natural phrasing add up to some of the finest Mozart playing I've heard. All these qualities come together in the F major K332. Elegant refinement informs the opening Allegro, whilst the Adagio is wrapped in an innocent simplicity. The finale is played with gusto, verve and vigour. The drama of the outer movements of the Beethoven ‘Appassionata’ are addressed with passionate intensity. She summons formidable technical command in a thrilling reading of Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit. Ondine is well-projected and transmits sufficient tension, whilst Le Gibet's sombre tolls suggest chilling portent. In Scarbo she unleashes its demonic forces with consummate virtuosity.
Eymar’s pastel hues confer an autumnal glow on the two Brahms pieces. The outer sections of the G minor Ballade are fervently declaimed. This exquisite tonal shading reveals a wealth of subtlety and nuance in the Schumann Kreisleriana. She traverses the contrasting movements with imagination and poetic insight, portraying each as a miniature tone poem. The opening movement of the Chopin has sufficient turbulence, whilst the Funeral March is nicely paced, and not cumbersome like some performances I've heard. The finale is a coruscating fluorescence. The two Fauré pieces are a pleasing addition, and idiomatically shaped.
The contents of these two generously timed CDs, much originating from the Eymar family archive, have been released with the kind cooperation of the pianist's children. Sound quality is more than satisfactory. Comprehensive biographical notes and attendant photographs are supplied. This superb release is a must-have for pianophiles.
Complete contents, dates and venues: CD 1 [79:51] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonata in D Major, KV.311/284c [15:39]
rec. 23 October 1958 ˇ Köln ˇ WDR Studio ˇ Westdeutscher Rundfunk ˇ Radio Studio Recording Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Gaspard de la Nuit, M.55 [19:02]
rec. 16 June 1961 ˇ Hannover ˇ Studio A ˇ Landesfunkhaus Niedersachsen ˇ Norddeutscher Rundfunk ˇ Radio Studio Recording Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Piano Sonata in F Major, KV.332/300k [15:38] Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 [21:05]
rec. 10 February 1962 ˇ Paris ˇ Maison de la Radio ˇ Studio 105 ˇ Radio Studio Recording ˇ Family Archival Recording Gabriel FAURÉ(1845-1924)
Nocturne No. 1 in E-flat minor, Op. 33/1 [07:24]
rec. 12 March 1964 ˇ Frankfurt am Main ˇ Raum 3/B ˇ Hessischer Rundfunk ˇ Radio Studio Recording
CD 2 Gabriel FAURÉ [78:23]
Barcarolle No. 2 in G Major, Op. 41 [06:10]
rec. 12 March 1964 ˇ Frankfurt am Main ˇ Raum 3/B ˇ Hessischer Rundfunk ˇ Radio Studio
Recording Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119, No. 1 [03:15]
Ballade in G minor, Op. 118, No. 3 [04:40] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 “Appassionata” [21:05]
rec. 28 January 1967 ˇ Paris ˇ Maison de la Radio ˇ Studio 105 ˇ Live Recording ˇ Family Archival Recording Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kreisleriana, Op. 16 [29:10]
rec. 21 June 1969 ˇ Paris ˇ Maison de la Radio ˇ Studio 105 ˇ Live Recording ˇ Family Archival Recording Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Piano Sonata in G Major, KV.283/189h [13:59]
rec. 26 February 1972 ˇ Paris ˇ Maison de la Radio ˇ Studio 105 ˇ Live Recording ˇ Family Archival Recording