Jacqueline Eymar – Four dances from Le Zodiaque – Georges Migot – ORTF Studio recital – Approx. March 1961 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Legendary French Pianist Jacqueline Eymar in a broadcast premier of Le Zodiaque by Georges Migot. Recorded either late 1960 or early 1961 in the studios of ORTF in Paris.
By all accounts, the premier commercial recording of this work was made around the same time as this recital. The disc went on to win the Grand Prix de l’Académie nationale du disque and was critically well received. Since I have no exact date of this recording for the Lumen label), and can’t verify whether it comes before or after the commercial recording, or is in fact one in the same, I will have to rely on one of my French colleagues to fill me in (if possible) on dates and locations**. Hint-hint.
** and as luck would have it, intrepid Francophone Phillip Nones comes up with January 31, 1961 as a possible air date, based on newspaper accounts and repertoire from that concert.
Born in Nice, a pupil of the pianist and composer Yves Nat, Eymar had a rich post-war career as a pianist and chamber musician.
Eymar has interpreted a wide and varied repertoire, in which the romantic period (Brahms, Schumann, Schubert…) and French music (Debussy, Fauré, Franck…) occupied a prominent place. Soloist with the Orchestre national and the Orchestre de la Radiotélévision française, she was also a regular of the major Parisian associations, playing for the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire or in the framework of concerts Colonne and concerts Lamoureux. She has toured extensively in Europe, the USSR (1958, 1961, 1967), Southeast Asia (1965) and America (1971), offering piano recitals and chamber music concerts.
In addition to her solo work, Jacqueline Eymar devoted a significant part of her work to chamber music, actively collaborating with Günter Kehr – a German violinist and conductor – and with the Kehr trio, founded by the latter. At the time of the Franco-German reconciliation, they met in quartet and gave together many concerts in France, in Germany and in the world.
Critics recognized her for her exceptional power and elegance of play, most often praising her architectural design of the works. On March 30, 1960, René Dumesnil wrote in Le Monde: “I have rarely seen such complete possession of a performer through the music she animates.” On February 13, 1965, composer Luc-André Marcel addressed her in these terms: “The way in which you illuminate such and such a detail, of which you make emerge such and such a second level, of which you lead a crescendo, is of such evidence that one cannot not listen. Moreover, the extreme beauty of the sound and the astonishing variety of colors, the total absence of arbitrary, gratuitous virtuosity, add to this impression of hearing pure music.”
Eymar has given great importance to contemporary composers, introducing French and foreign audiences to artists such as André Jolivet, Georges Migot, Serge Nigg, Antoine Tisné, Marius Constant and Luc-André Marcel, whose two piano concertos she created. In 1960, in the Salle Pleyel in Paris, she performed the piano concerto of Khachaturian (1926), the composer conducting the National Orchestra.
In the 1980s, she retired to her family home in Pourrières (Var), reserving her performances for an audience of music-loving friends. She died there on December 6, 2008.
Georges Migot (27 February 1891 – 5 January 1976) was a prolific French composer. Though primarily known as a composer, he was also a poet, often integrating his poetry into his compositions, and an accomplished painter. He won the 1921 Prix Blumenthal.
It is not easy to assess the prolific work of Georges Migot. He is credited with choosing difficult paths and rejecting banal solutions. Thus, Florent Schmitt wrote about his work Agrestides: “In all this work there is nothing low, banal or even easy. On the contrary, there are pure, noble, generous intentions, an intense poetic feeling. But impenitently self-taught, it seems that he approached his art by where he should have finished it.” (Feuilleton musical du Temps, 23 May 1931). Some critics reproached him for having come to music through painting. As a musician, he knew how to translate the subtle play of colors with the help of sounds.
Special thanks as always to Phillip Nones for providing a broadcast date. VERY much appreciated!