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Edna Stern plays Hélène de Montgeroult

94e71ef3-1f3c-46fe-9591-2bf476527cdf

Hélène de Montgeroult: Sonata No 9 Op 5 No 3; 12 Etudes from Complete Course for the instruction of the pianoforte

Orchid Classics

ORC100063

4 stars

 

Perfumed and poised in equal measure, Edna Stern’s Bach Partitas on Orchid Classics divided listeners down traditional purist-Romantic lines of appreciation: I found a sprightly, smiling joy in her playing, as I do in this less generous (53 minutes) but more historically valuable advancement of a missing link between Beethoven and Chopin. The life and career of Hélène de Montgeroult (1764-1836) was extraordinary in itself: a student of Clementi, Dussek and Reicha who was spared the guillotine by improvising variations on the Marseillaise in front of the men who led the Reign of Terror, she later became the first female piano professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Her music is no less striking, even the 112 Etudes of her Method: freely rhapsodic, never restrictively didactic, they would make a splendid alternative if Czerny is getting you down. On a ringing Pleyel instrument of 1860, Stern presents 12 of them alongside the much more substantial Ninth Sonata and a wittily Mozartian set of variations. PQ

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