Chopin Etudes Recordings
Written by: Klavier (Yuan Huang)
(009) Jeanne-Marie Darré
Original Released by Pathe in two 10" LPs
Recording Company: Toshiba-EMI
Just finished the review of Backhaus, then immediately reviewed another Chopin Etudes for my friend’s Magazine (a recording, by a thirteen-year-old girl of chinese origin, which I will post it later) and now again one more review. Considering a couple versions, I settled down to Darre’s. For three reasons, First, this recording is very rare, besides the original LP, then only this reissue in CD. Second, there are only limited reference on Darre which is not fare to her achievement. Third, this year is the 10th Anneversary of her death.
First time I came across the name Jeanne-Marie Darre was about 10-11 years ago. Although her last days already, Darre was still new to me as I just became a member in Classical Music. I have to devote my appreciation to the late Pianist and Teacher Mr. Shigui Hong, his 《Dictionary of Famous Foreign Pianists》in the 80’s introduced to me many great names in the history, including Darre. Darre receive instruction from two of the great figures in Paris Conservatory, Isidor Philipp and Marguerite Long and graduated with excellence. Since then, she had been toured around as one of the greatest female pianist. Darre inheritted the tradition of Franch Pianism, beautiful voicing and formidable passion. Her young recording was brilliant, almost all of her 78rpm records are included in VAI’s CD: "Darre Early Recordings", which included several etudes by Chopin and Liszt. My first Darre recording was her Saint-Saens’s Concertos in EMI. She made herself famous with these concertos since young, as early as 21 years old she had already done something phenomenal with all five Saint-Saens Piano Concertos in one concert. Meanwhile, her Chopin was also impressive and it was not a challenge for her to play the complete etudes in the concert. However, many of the CD issues of her recordings were 60’s or even 70’s and sort of lacking in passion and power.
This rare Chopin Etudes recording measured Darre’s ability at her peak, and it was one of the most important solo works she did after the 78rpm era. The record was released by Pathe in two separate album in 10" LP format. I had no idea what was the feedback at that time, but its never been reissued in 12" format was such a lost, and not to mention in CD format. Now this set of albums was still hard to find in the internet 2nd hand record stores, and once it was bidded to an unexpected price on ebay and a much higer price could be set with her signatures. Undoubetly, her greatness is still recognized by many music lovers. During the years 1998-99, Yamano Music Co. in Japan joined hands with Toshiba-EMI and released a 10-CD series of "Great Female Pianist of Angel", which included Marguerite Long, Lili Kraus, Eileen Joyce, Jeanne-Marie Darre, Harriet Cohen, Gina Bachauer, Moura Lympany and Marcelle Meyer’s great recordings. These CDs were out-of-stock soon after and became a hot collectable. It seems the number of copies made was too small that even reissued in the years 2000-2001 they were still out-of-print immediately. Even the local Japanese collectors are still consider these are great albums today. Due to its limited offer and only locally available, at the time of unpopular/undevelopped internet services around the world, most of the foreign collectors or music lovers do not even know the existance of these CDs, and when they know about these recordings later on there is no way to get a single copy anymore. Thanks to Yamano Music, Darre’s Chopin Etudes was finally realized on CD. I had been looking for this CD for years without any result and was finally got it from Japan. It was not cheap but for such an unusual recording, it is worth. Well, not if I know somebody in Japan would I be able to encounter this copy.
Now back to the recording itself, Darre did not play in a fast speed which did disappoint me at the first place since I was really expecting her playing with super virtuosity. On the other hand, Darre’s clarity, purity and solidity in her performance shows her qualification. When I replayed these etudes again, I told myself, brilliance does not require showing off. I do realize sometimes studio recordings are more or less conservative and do not reflect one’s real musical characteristic in a live concert , and thus I will not doubt that Darre will play with higher glory in concert, and I will not question if Darre have the ability to show off. Same here, you can actually tell, from some of the etudes, that Darre is equipted with marvelous technique to conquer the most demanded pieces. Fast arpeggio, Chromatic scale on weak fingers, rapid double thirds, powerful chromatic parallel octaves etc, all of these are amazingly finished. However with one big exception, the Winter Wind Etude, that is not my taste at all. I can tell this CD remastering did take a good effort, it eliminated most of the surface noice from the source however this usually sacrificed some details in the recording and could result in a rather cold or rough sound. Have to point out that, during the editing process, there is a significant sound quality changing at bar 49 of Op.10 No.1 which affected the consistancy and continuity between bar 48 and bar 49.
Apr. 29, 2009
(009) Jeanne-Marie Darré/简妮-玛丽·达雷
刚刚写完了巴克豪斯，紧跟着帮朋友的杂志写了另一篇肖邦练习曲的碟评(13岁华裔女孩的录音，出完了杂志再放上来好了)，然后现在马不停蹄开始了新的一篇。 不知道最近什么刺激，那么有欲望写东西，就当是弥补这荒废了1年多的光阴吧，看着自己这么久没有更新了，自己都觉得内疚。考虑了很久，把拿在手上的几个版本思前想后， 最终还是把这次的位置给了Darre。选择Darre， 有几个原因。 其一，该录音十分罕见，除了原LP外，就只出过这唯一一次CD，其二，Darre太少被介绍了，这对她的艺术成就来说有点不公平， 其三，今年刚好是Darre逝世10周年的时间，仅以此文悼念。
初次知道Darre，大概也正是10-11年前，当然了，尽管那时已是Darre的垂暮之年， 但对于当时只是一个接触古典音乐不深的我来说，这位钢琴家还是很陌生的。这不能不感谢已故著名的著名钢琴教育家洪士銈先生，正是他在80年代编写的《外国著名钢琴家词典》让我认识了Darre还有很多其他伟大的名字。Darre曾受教于巴黎音乐学院最著名的两个教授Isidor Philipp和Marguerite Long， 并以优秀的成绩毕业。 自毕业后，Darre已经作为出色的演奏家在各地巡回演出， 她继承了法国学派优秀的发声特点， 演奏中既能激情洋溢， 也可抒情如歌。 她年轻时候的录音精彩华丽， 她几乎全部的78转唱片录音都收录在VAI出版的CD《Darre Early Recordings》里面， 当中也不乏肖邦和李斯特的练习曲。 我最早接触Darre的录音应该是EMI出版的圣-桑协奏曲，而Darre的圣-桑协奏曲也的确闻名，早在她21岁时候，就不可思议地在一场音乐会当中演奏了全部圣-桑协奏曲， 并获得巨大的成功。 然而Darre的肖邦也不是泛泛之辈，以全套肖邦练习曲作为演奏会曲目对她来说并没有什么难度。可惜的是，她的不少CD录音都已经60年代后的甚至70年代的， 纵然仍有着她的音色， 但却欠缺了一份年轻的激情和冲劲。
这套鲜为人知的肖邦练习曲全集是纪录着Darre盛年时期的录音之一，也是Darre在脱离78转唱片之后的重要独奏录音， 是在当年百代唱片公司以10寸密纹唱片的形式分两张唱片独立出版。当年出版后的反应如何我不得而知， 不过这个版本后来并没有再版为12寸密纹唱片始终是一个遗憾，更不用说再版成CD了。现在这套密纹唱片即使在网络二手唱片市场上都十分罕见，在ebay网上曾几何时一度追捧至极高的价格， 而有着Darre签名的唱片更是天价， 可见Darre还是深受一部分乐迷的宠爱的。 1998-99年间， 日本的山野乐器公司联同东芝EMI发行了10 CD的《天使唱片中的伟大女钢琴家》系列， 当中收录了Marguerite Long, Lili Kraus, Eileen Joyce, Jeanne-Marie Darre, Harriet Cohen, Gina Bachauer, Moura Lympany以及Marcelle Meyer的优秀演绎，此系列一出版即备受追捧， 被奉为日本收藏者争相拥有的对象。 而当年出版数量好像供不应求，以致在2000-2001年再版后依然很快绝版，即使是日本本土的收藏家到现在依然十分重视这套录音。 由于录音产量不多而且仅在当地发行，在网络信息技术并不完全普及的当年， 海外的乐迷很多并不知道该套录音的存在， 而在后期得知该唱片的资料后， 已经无从入手。 Darre的肖邦练习曲的首次CD化， 实在不能不感谢山野乐器的慧眼识英雄。为此录音 寻觅多年不果， 最后还是在日本的二手市场购得，价格来说并不便宜， 然而对于这样弥足珍贵的录音来说，这样的价格对得住它了， 只是感慨，要不是幸运认识在日本居住的朋友， 我又如何能得偿所愿呢。
说回录音， Darre并没有弹得很快， 说实在当我第一次听的时候， 对她的演奏速度是有那么一点失望的， 因为我确实很期待Darre的这套录音会激情洋溢，会令我有技惊四座的感觉。 不过其实法国派本身就不是炫技派，而Darre的演绎晶莹剔透，扎实的声音，均匀的节奏其实正正体现着她技术的稳健，当我再品味这些练习曲的时候，我告诉自己， 其实精彩并不需要炫耀。 当然了，录音室的录音偏保守的情况也不是没有遇到过，我不会怀疑Darre的现场演绎会更精彩， 也并不怀疑Darre有着炫耀技术的本钱。 正如某些技术型练习曲，还是能听到Darre过人的能力，流畅的琶音，均匀的半音阶，整齐的双三度，扎实的平行八度，都相当精彩。不过像冬风练习曲那样，就有点令我失望了。CD版本制作应该花了不少功夫， 降噪效果很显著，但却容易因此削弱了演奏中的细节位置， 会令Darre的音色显得稍微粗糙。 但需要指出的是， 在编辑处理过程中，Op.10 No.1的主题再现(第49小节)部, 有着明显的剪接问题导致第48小节和第49小节之间承接出现不小的败笔。