A highly regarded but sadly forgotten pianist this weekend, playing a world premier of a piece dedicated to her. The Toccata for Piano, by the Contemporary French Composer Luc-André Marcel in its world premier performance by Jacqueline Eymar, in an ORTF Studio recording, made circa 1965 and offered by the ORTF Transcription service.
Luc-André Marcel (1919-1992) was a contemporary composer, but also an author and editor, whose study of the music of Bach was widely regarded when it was first published in 1963. He was also a translator and was responsible for numerous translations of works by Armenian poets. He was also Inspector of Music at the Ministry of Culture in Paris.
Jacqueline Eymar was a pianist and composer who studied with the legendary Yves Nat and began a successful career just before World War 2, and continued until her retirement from public performing in the 1980s. Eymar died in 2008. As a noted interpreter of music from the Romantic period, she was also noted for her work with contemporary composers, among them Luc-André Marcel, who dedicated the Toccata for Piano to her and was given its world premier in 1960. Eymar was highly regarded and well-liked by the Press, with glowing reviews of her performances such as one by critic René Dumesnil who wrote in Le Monde “I have rarely seen so complete an interpreter’s possession of the music that she animates.” Marcel himself wrote a glowing note of compliment to her: “The way in which you illuminate such detail, from which you bring out a second plan, of which you are driving a crescendo, is so obvious that ‘We can not not listen. Moreover, the extreme beauty of the sound and the amazing variety of colors, the total absence of arbitrariness, free virtuosity, add to this impression of hearing pure music.”
This recording most likely represents the only known example of this work by Marcel, it was a studio broadcast performance, issued by the ORTF Transcription Service in July of 1965. Whether this was the initial 1960 performance, included in this broadcast of music by contemporary French Composers or it was a new recording isn’t quite clear. There’s very little biographical information on Luc-André Marcel, other than he was a contemporary of André Jolivet, Serge Nigg, Georges Migot and Marius Constant. The Toccata speaks for itself.