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Integrale Studio Import


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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
A Cornucopia of Delights June 10 2008
By Johannes Climacus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 17-CD set contains all of Marcelle Meyer's EMI recordings, and it is a veritable cornucopia of delights. Meyer had a long and distinguished career as a doyenne of French pianists, and close friend of French composers, from the early 1920's through the mid-1950's. Her touch is immaculate, her phrasing consistently imaginative, her tone sparkling and her interpretations nearly always illuminating. She never makes an ugly sound (although some of the Rameau performances from the early-LP era are recorded in an unflatteringly close studio acoustic).

Meyer had a huge repertoire, which is reflected in the splendidly diverse array of pieces anthologized here--everything from Couperin through Stravinsky, including the complete piano music of Chabrier (one of her specialties, and superbly done). Arguably her finest efforts were on behalf of Baroque composers. She recorded almost everything in the Rameau canon (including multiple versions from different phases of Meyer's career), plus a huge swath of Bach, Scarlatti and Couperin. Her interpretations of these composers (many of whose keyboard works were still underappreciated and underperformed in Meyer's day) are, in a word, exquisite. She makes the most of the expressive resources of the modern piano, yet never oversteps the sensibilities of the 18th Century. Moreover, the virtuosity she displays in these four composers is truly astonishing. In Bach her finger dexterity rivals Gould's--and her tonal palette is more varied than his. Her Scarlatti is vivid and visceral, with transcendental technique.

Her Debussy and Ravel manifests these same virtues of elegance, graciousness, evocativeness, and super-refined virtuosity, and her Mozart manages to convey playfulness and charm without preciosity.

There are of course, many other composers represented in this anthology--too many, in fact, for me to comment on in a brief review. Suffice it to say that over the very long haul of 17 CDs I was never bored and rarely disappointed in Meyer's recreative artistry. Since the sources for these recordings range from early electrical 78s through monaural LPs, it is inevitable that the sound quality will be variable--and it is. Most troublesome was a perceptible amount of temporal distortion (wow and flutter) in some of the Bach. But the good news is that for the present set EMI have done complely new remasterings that have corrected many of the problems found in earlier reissues of some of this material. The pitch in the Bach (which was noticeably sharp in an EMI/Références production from the early 1990's) has been corrected, and elsewhere the sound is remarkably good for the period. Probably the least alluring sound comes from the 1950's, which, as indicated above, can tend toward the clangorous and claustrophobic.

But don't let the vagaries of the sonics dissuade you from purchasing this set, which is of immense historical and musical value--and also remarkably inexpensive, considering the huge quanitity of music contained on these 17 CDs. Pianophiles everywhere--particularly those interested in the evolution of 18th and 20th century performance practice--should seek this out forthwith. Urgently recommended.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
For a Budget Desert Island Feb. 7 2009
By Mark Arnest - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marcelle Meyer is one of the greatest pianists whose name is almost unknown in the US. This is a fantastic set - spontaneous, imaginative pianism, wide-ranging and marvelous repertoire, and decent sound (mostly from the early- to mid-1950s, though the 78s, most from the late 1940s, have also been extremely well remastered). She's most famous for her Debussy and Ravel, partly for the intrinsic value of her playing, and partly because she studied with Ricardo Vines, who premiered many of those composers' works. But just as wonderful are the generous helpings of Scarlatti, Bach, Chabrier (maybe the best on record), Schubert, Rameau, Stravinsky, Rossini and others.

What about those who have the previous EMI "Introuvables" reissues of Meyer? This set contains about 60 performances not available on the previous sets, but only four new pieces of repertoire - the Espla "Sonata del Sur para piano y orquesta," one Scarlatti sonata (K. 8), one Rameau miniature, and Haydn's Sonata #34 in E minor from a piano roll (which, given the unreliability of piano rolls, may not quite count). Quite a few of the performances, especially among the 78s, have had their pitch corrected. But the sound of the tape performances, which is most of the music, is virtually identical, and not necessarily better when it's different. I'm very glad I made the upgrade, but please note that I'm a fanatic...
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Marcelle Meyer - EMI : 1-0 Dec 11 2010
By Paul De Troy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
OK. Much has been said about Marcelle Meyer as a pianist. She was the top: fresh, straightforward, refined playing of the highest order. Not much, however, has been said about the recording quality and the remastering by EMI. Well then: the recordings were actually (almost all of them) state of the art; no complaints here. But the remastering is a mixed bag. Most of the music here duplicates the 3 boxes "Les introuvables de Marcel Meyer" from the 90s. Some of the music has been re-remastered for this specific compilation; however, EMI used the old remastering for the rest. That's a shame and a missed opportunity! The new transfers have some clear hiss and background noise, absent in the old remastering. But the piano tone, as a result, is superior. It is warmer, has more air around it, has more presence. The occasional orchestra sounds more realistic and much warmer than before. In short:
Chabrier: old remastering
Ravel: old remastering
Debussy: old remastering
Stravinsky: old remastering
R. Strauss: new remastering!!!
Rameau: old remastering
F. Couperin: new remastering!!!
Scarlatti: old remastering
Rossini: old remastering
Bach: new remastering!!!
Mozart: new remastering!!!
Schubert: old remastering
Virtually all the recordings that are here but were absent from "Les Introuvables" are newly remastered and sound very good. Marcelle Meyer seems to have recorded quite a few pieces twice. That means, for instance, that some of the music of Rameau and much of the music of Scarlatti is present in two different remasterings, the new remastering invariably sounding a lot better.
This leaves the question as to why EMI didn't re-remaster ALL the recordings. They should have!!! If I had to pay double price for a box of all newly remastered recordings of Marcelle Meyer, I would gladly pay it. This box is very nice, but it leaves the real music lover hungry.
BTW: the discs are wrapped up in individual paper bags. I took them out at once and put them safe in thin plastic cases. Much to my relief, all the discs were in impeccable condition: not a scratch anywhere. But I guess I've been lucky!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Buy it Feb. 21 2010
By John Austen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Years ago, Gramophone's Good CD Guide used to have shorter reviews than now and helpful lists of "other recommended" recordings. I found Meyer (who was unknown to me) highly recommended in one of those lists. Despite her acquaintance with composers of her own day (notably "les six"), it was for her Scarlatti that Gramophone recommended her.
These days, I find myself more attracted to her Rameau, which has a wonderful combination of wit and grace. And indeed, it is for her Scarlatti, Rameau and Couperin that I still find her most often recommended. But as one might expect, her playing of her contemporaries is also very special. Her Chabrier is superb, and though I wouldn't want her Debussy to be my reference recording, I still find it genuinely illuminating.
In brief, though she is relatively little known--at least outside France--she is of far more than merely "historic" interest: she was a superb pianist, especially in baroque and early 20th-century repertoire. And at the asking price, this set is such an extraordinary bargain that you should grab it now, while it is still available.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There's some genius here Dec 2 2010
By G. Dorfman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have been listening to pianists my whole life and Marcelle Meyer was a real phenomenon. She was deeply spiritual artist with magnificent technique, perfect control, exquisite taste and a free natural approach to music making that make for a rare package. Only one word does her playing of the Debussy Preludes and of the Scarlatti sonatas (or the Strauss Burlesque) justice, and that is 'sublime.' She was an artist on the order of Lipatti and Haskil without a doubt. Because she specialized in different repertoire than they did she is a unique artist. There are 17 disks here and not everything is on the same level in terms of inspiration or sonically -- how could it be? -- but at her peak she was something of a genius, not a word I use often. If you love the piano, buy it; the price is a steal. -- Geoffrey Dorfman

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