Jean-Philippe Rameau’s music has been featured all month on our vocal music station, Viva la Voce, and this week the commemoration expands to Classical WETA, as the first CD Pick of the Week after a long hiatus. French pianist Marcelle Meyer was the muse of Les Six, the early 20th-century group of French composers which included Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc. She was Erik Satie’s favorite pianist, and studied Debussy’s Preludes with the composer. She joined Francis Poulenc for the premiere of that composer’s Sonata for Piano Four Hands. Stravinsky and Ravel both invited her to play their works. It’s easy to think of her only as a significant representative of French works of the early 20th century.
In 1953, however, the founder of the record label Les Discophiles Français, Henri Screpel, who had a deep interest in 18th-century music, convinced her to record an anthology of keyboard works by Rameau. They were released the following year, and the performances have since been regarded as a legendary tribute to Rameau.
We’ll be listening to movements from the suites each hour in the coming week, and there will also be orchestral music by Rameau from other recordings. Tune in to hear great music by this pillar of 18th century French music.