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Bryce Morrison
Gramophone, November 2012


…Naxos continues its fascinating series ‘Women at the Piano’ with Vols 4 and 5.

Virtually all these performances have a liberating joie de vivre, a freedom to let go and be oneself. Constance Keene…is scintillating, characterful and superbly assured…Reine Gianoli…is vivacious and original…

…with Liza Fuchsova we are…in a Smetana rarity…Marie-Thérèse Fourneau is both impassioned and insinuating…

Vol 5 is absorbing and includes performances of great documentary interest. As with the previous issue, many of these are by pianists whose names long ago slipped into oblivion and the newer volume displays a cornucopia of talents. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Steve Arloff
MusicWeb International, July 2012

This is another of Naxos Historical’s excellent series exploring the recorded legacy of great women pianists. The marvellous thing about such series is the discoveries that one makes, sometimes in repertoire but always in the names of the musicians. There were several such for me on this disc. This is volume 4 and it is to be hoped that there will be more.

The first pianist on the disc is a name that’s new to me. Constance Keene was born in New York and this early recording of hers is an extremely good one of Beethoven’s Variations on an original theme in C minor. It sounds great even after 60 years. Another discovery for me followed with Reine Gianoli in a 1947 recording of Brahms’ Rhapsody in G minor, Op.79, No.2. Another Rhapsody followed, this time one of Liszt’s played by Greek-born Gina Bachauer, considered by many as the greatest woman pianist of the 20th century. Of her biographer Graham Wade said “The scope of her personality, the expanse of her transcendent musical expressiveness, the sheer magic of her presence, could never be adequately communicated by words on the page.” Listening to this recording one can’t fail to agree. Rosa Tamarkina was only a name to me as I’d never heard anything played by her. This recording of her Chopin, dating from around 1947, shows clearly what a tragedy it was that she died of cancer at the early age of 30. It is a particularly poignant recording as it was to mark Chopin’s birth centenary and at the same time was her last public appearance. Liza Fuchsova the Czech pianist comes next in the first recording ever made of Smetana’s Fantasy on Czech Folk Songs. It’s a thrillingly bravura performance of this rarely heard work.

Lilly Dymont, another name new to me plays Albeniz’s Sevilla from Suite española in a recording from 1930, not that you’d be aware of that from this expertly restored version. Ed Thompson deserves high praise for the restorative work he’s done on all these recordings. We stay in Spain for another discovery in the shape of Marcelle Meyer whose recording of De Falla’s Miller’s Dance from his Three Cornered Hat takes us even further back to 1925. Again Thompson’s sterling work belies that fact. Still in Spain we have French pianist Maria Tagliaferro’s interpretation of a Mompou piece. This displays her ability to contrast great passion with a light and gentle touch. A Fauré piano work comes next played in 1944 by French pianist Marie-Thérèse Fourneau who also exhibits a feather-like treatment of his Barcarolle No. 3 in G flat major, Op.42 (1885). Yet another new name for me is that of the Swiss pianist Lottie Morel. Here she plays a charming little piece by a composer I hadn’t come across either, André-François Marescotti, whose piano concerto she also recorded. Scottish-born Winifred Christie’s account of Moritz Rosenthal’s Papillons is from 1921. It’s the first track to shows its age not that that detracts in any way from the delightful interpretation of this charming little piece. I’d not heard of either of the last two pianists, Bärbel Andreae or Edith Farnadi but both Andreae’s Schubert and Farnadi’s Strauss waltz are worthy additions to this roll-call of fantastic women pianists.

This series throws a light on great keyboard interpreters, many of whom will no doubt be new to most people. That’s the value of such series with Naxos continuing its well established tradition of seeking out historical recordings of real interest and presenting them to the listening public at a great price. This is a disc of particular value. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Pianist, July 2012

Naxos has reached volume 4 in is its series of historic reissues of women pianists…here are some powerful pianists who can knock the male contender aside, For instance, there’s Constance Keene playing Beethoven’s 32 Variations with great conviction, a hard-driven Liszt tossed off by Gina Bachauer and rarities such as the Rosenthal Papillons seductively performed by Winifred Christie. It’s worth seeking out the first three volumes to supplement this feast of pianistic fireworks! © 2012 Pianist

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2012

The fourth volume of this ongoing series brings together sixteen recordings made by women pianists on both sides of the Atlantic in the thirty-four years from 1921. The notes with the disc remind us that in the first fifty years of the 20th century over two hundred female pianists made studio recordings, yet on the concert platform their presence was not as numerous as that would lead you to imagine. I guess Constance Keene, an American who spent much of her career in the United States is one of many of the names that will be unknown to you, though her very dexterous 1952 account of Beethoven’s 32 Variations makes a fine opening to the disc. Among the biographies are sad stories, particularly that of the Rosa Tamarkina, who gives a gorgeous reading of Chopin’s Third Scherzo, the once precociously gifted Russian teenager dying at the age of thirty. Much space in the booklet is given to the French pianist, Marcelle Meyer, and you can hear why there was so much admiration in Manuel De Falla’s Miller’s Dance. I was drawn to pianists I have seen, the red-headed Brazilian pianist, Magda Tagliaferro, remains vivid, and I love her affectionate playing of Mompou. And, of course, there was Edith Fernadi’s many recordings we collected as teenagers, here recalled with a brilliant account of Dohnanyi’s arrangement of Strauss’s Treasure Waltz. Marie-Therese Fourneau was on the brink of a great career that was cut short by multiple sclerosis, her Faure Barcarolle reminding us that her Ravel and Debussy was once thought benchmark performances. For their vintage the quality of transfers is very good. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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