MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Emma Boynet (piano)
The Complete Solo 78-rpm Recordings and Fauré LPs
rec. 1933-1952
APR 6033 [82:42 + 82:15]

APR’s The French Piano School series is going from strength to strength, unearthing rare recordings of pianists, many who seem to have migrated off the radar. One such is Emma Boynet (1891-1974). You’ll find hardly anything about her on the internet; a Wikipedia entry amounts to a measly three lines, and she gets only the briefest of mentions in Charles Timbrell’s French Pianism – A Historical Perspective. You’ll never be let down by APR’s documentation. They’ve enlisted one of their regulars - Frédéric Gaussin, whose writing I’ve always found detailed, scholarly and insightful. There’s an eleven page biography, which I found tremendously valuable as I’d no previous knowledge of this pianist.

Boynet was born in Paris to a father who “loathed” music and a “very musical” mother. Thus, her early groundings in piano were made by stealth. Progress was rapid and she eventually entered the Paris Conservatoire where she studied with Isidore Philipp. She made her debut in 1912 and was praised for her “penetrating sound (and) her sparkling technique”. Her progress was halted by the War, but she returned to performing in 1918. As well as a solo career, she performed chamber music and frequently collaborated with instrumentalists. She made quite a splash in the States, visiting on and off from 1934, and became a favourite of Serge Koussevitzky. She died in Paris in 1974. Boynet forged her reputation with French music, especially that of Gabriel Fauré.

The Pathé Recordings were set down in Paris in 1933 & 1934. The most impressive is Weber’s Rondo brillante in E flat major 'La gaîté' Op 62, an example of Jeu Perlé at its finest, where the runs are fast, clean and even. Schubert’s G flat Impromptu is earthbound and routine, lacking the poetry of Horowitz. It’s significant that Boynet records two pieces by Fauré in her very first recording session on 13 November 1933, including one of my favorites, the Nocturne No. 4 in E flat, a reading ardently expressive. She was to return to the studios again with this in New York April 1952 for Vox. The Impromptu Op. 31, No. 2 in F minor glistens with delicate, diaphanous fingerwork.

Boynet’s Victor recordings were made between 1934 and 1938. There a Rondo from Haydn’s Piano Sonata in C taken at a breathless pace, but exuding vivacity and cheer. The same joyous smile imbues Chabrier’s Bourrée fantasque. Debussy’s Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir is invested with swathes of impressionistic colour. Welcome are two lesser-knowns, Pierné’s Nocturne en forme de valse and Séverac’s Baigneuses au soleil, both radiating sunlight and warmth. She includes two pieces by her teacher Isidore Philipp, of which Feux Follets is the best with its sparkling cascades.

Her farewell to the studios took place in the early 1950s with her Fauré LP recordings. Over two sessions, 12 June 1950 in Paris and 23 April 1952 in New York, she returned to the composer she probably admired the most. Her Fauré recordings are wonderful. She plays the first six Barcarolles. She performs them with elegance, graceful legato, rhythmic nuance and sensitive rubato. How well she portrays the gentle waves sending the gondola on its journey in No. 4 in A flat, Op. 44. In No. 5 she captures the dark, troubled undercurrents. Admirable is the way she savours and projects the lyrical beauties of the Trois romances sans paroles. Boynet selects six of the thirteen Nocturnes. She enters fully into the mood of each with probing intensity. Sensitive application of pedal enables her to achieve myriad coloristic hues. There’s a wide dynamic range, too. Listen to the breathtaking pianissimos in No. 1 in E flat, Op. 33. No. 4 in E flat, Op. 36 has an innocent simplicity, and I love the way she probes the inner depths of the less accessible No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 74.

These recordings have been lovingly restored by Mark Obert-Thorn, and are deserving of the highest praise. As already mentioned, the documentation, in English and French, is exceptionally thorough. The Fauré recordings are the plums of the set and, for me, stand shoulder to shoulder with those of that other grande dame of the keyboard Germaine Thyssens-Valentin.

Stephen Greenbank

CD 1 [82:42]
The 78-rpm Recordings
Pathé Recordings, Paris 1933 &1934
1. SCHUBERT Impromptu in G flat major D899/3 (Op 90/3);
2. WEBER Rondo brillante in E flat major 'La gaîté' Op 62
3. FAURÉ Nocturne No 4 Op 36;
4. Impromptu No 2 Op 31;
5. FALLA Andaluza
Victor Recordings, New York, 1934 & 1938
6. BACH/PERRACHIO Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr BWV711;
7. HAYDN Rondo from Sonata in C major Hob XVI:48
8. CHABRIER Idylle;
9. Bourrée fantasque;
10. FAURÉ Barcarolle No 5 Op 66
11. DEBUSSY Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir;
12. PIERNÉ Nocturne en forme de valse Op 40/2
13. PHILIPP Nocturne Op 90;
14. Feux-follets;
15. SÉVERAC Baigneuses au soleil
16. IBERT La marchande d'eau fraiche;
17. Le petit âne blanc
Polydor (France) Recordings, Paris. 1939
18-21. 4 Ancient Airs and Dances (transcribed by Isidor Philipp)

CD 2 [82.15]
The Fauré LP recordings 1950 & 1952
Vox Recordings, Paris 1950 & New York 1952
1-6. Barcarolles: No 1 in A minor, Op 26; No 2 in G major, Op 41; No 3 in G flat major, Op 42; No 4 in A flat major, Op 44; No 5 in F sharp minor, Op 66; No 6 in E flat major, Op 70
7-9. Trois romances sans paroles Op 17;
10. Improvisation Op 84/5
11. Clair de lune Op 46/2 (transcribed by Albert Périlhou)
12-17. Nocturnes: No 1 in E flat minor, Op 33/1; No 2 in B major, Op 33/2; No 3 in A flat major, Op 33/3; No 4 in E flat major, Op 36; No 6 in D flat major, Op 63; No 7 in C sharp minor, Op 74

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing