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Price: $250.00

NEAR MINT CONDITION

ANTOINE MARMONTEL - PIANIST

Autographed and inscribed first edition score of the pianist and pedagogues’ Air de Danse Op. 115, 1873.  Our example does not have advertisements, or the wrapper which was a later edition.

à Madame Guibaud, hommage de respectement sympathique, Marmontel. 

Á son Elève Mme. M. Davillier/AIR DE DANSE/Dans le Style ancient/PASTORALE/pour/PIANO/par/A. MARMONTEL/Op.115/Pr: 6f/DU MÉME AUTEUR/Deux Menuets:___, Menuet de Mlle. De la Vallière__2. Menuet de Mme. De Sévigné/Air de Ballet__ l’Hirondelle__ La Chûte des Feuilles/La Brise__les Larmes__ Venezia__ Solo de Concours/(Voir aux Catalogues ci-contre)/PARIS/                      AU MÉNESTREL 2BIS rue Vivienne HEUGEL & cie/Editeurs des Solféges et Méthodes du Conservatoire/publisher’s stamp.

H.5588., 7 pp. of music. First edition, blank end page.

The pianist, (1816-1898) was a pupil of Pierre Zimmerman as of 1827 at the Paris Conservatoire.  Zimmerman single handedly brought the French piano school from the harpsichord to the pianoforte.  He further studied with Halevy and Le Suer.  Marmontel won the first prize at the Conservatoire in pianoforte and theory in 1832.  Initially he concertized throughout Europe and in 1837 decided not to continue his travelling and concentrate in pedagogy and took his first position at the Conservatoire as an Assistant Professor of theory. When Zimmerman retired in 1848, Marmontel was appointed head of the pianoforte department by the Director, Auber.  The appointment was not without controversy, as Charles Valentin Alkan, trying to stabilize his life wanted the position and put on a late but compelling full court press to obtain the position with among others Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Georges Sand, Alexandre Dumas pere and Eugene Delacroix in his corner.  The end came with a confrontation by Alkan and Auber which did not end well. (As Alkan was an Orthodox Jew, there also could have been anti-Semitism as a root cause.  Alkan who was also a Zimmerman pupil thought Marmontel was inferior to himself and wrote to his backers about his feelings. Despite Alkan’s writings, Marmontel was considered a brilliant pianist. This setback, coupled with the death of his dear friend Frederic Chopin months later had a profound psychological effect on Alkan which interrupted his public career.  Marmontel did not hold a grudge for the efforts made by Alkan and supported his career in his writings.

Marmontel quickly became the most important piano pedagogue in Paris and the head of the piano department at the Conservatoire. It is said he typically worked 11 hour days, both at the Conservatoire and with private pupils who were typically women. (He taught over 61 years, the only time off from teaching was in 1870 when the 54 year old pianist and his son served in the same regiment during the Franco Prussian War.)  Marmontel also encouraged his pupils to enter various competitions and used to prepare them by secretly renting out Salle Erard during the day, so his pupils had an advantage playing in a hall.  Bizet wrote that Marmontel did not just teach his pupils to be pianists, but musicians as well.  Today, he is considered to be the Grandfather of the modern French Piano School. Additionally he wrote a significant number of compositions for the piano, over 200 published.  Many of the works to aid his pupils in areas where he found the repertory lacking.  Additionally he wrote several significant books; in 1878 - Les Pianistes célèbres, in 1880 - Symphonists and Virtuosos, in 1882 - Virtuose contemporains, in 1884 - Éléments d'esthetique musicale et considérations sur le beau dans les arts, in1887 - Histoire du piano et de ses origins.  Marmontel’s books on pianists are among the very few first hand accounts of the various important pianists playing in Paris and throughout Europe during the 19th Century.  He saw Chopin play and other piano luminaries including; the Herz brothers, the young Liszt, Mendelssohn, Moscheles, Prudent, Ravina, Thalberg, literally a who’s who of pianists of the time and in many cases the only first hand accounts we have of their style and practice.  Harold Schonberg in his book The Great Pianists, describes him as too kind as many of the pianists he discusses were his pupils.  He also criticizes the fact that some were not “great” or composers rather than pianists, but all of this is his opinion and those views are not held by numerous eminent musicologists which regard the books as masterworks for first hand knowledge of the pianists of the period.

Marmontel’s pupil’s were his most important legacy.  In France his list of pupils is unrivalled to this day for their importance in the World of musical France.  His pupils included both pianists and composers including; Isaac Albéniz, Georges Bizet, Claude Debussy, Louis Diemer, Henri Fissot, Vincent d'Indy, Théodore Dubois, Dominique Ducharme, Alphonse Duvernoy, Victor Duvernoy, Henri Fissot, Gustave Gagnon, Ernest Guiraud, Eugene Ketterer, Edward MacDowell, Antonin Marmontel fils, Émile Paladilhe, Gabriel Pierné, Francis Planté, Paul Rougnon, Anton Simon, Francis Thomé, Jenny Viard-Louis, Paul Wachs, Emile Waldteufel, Joszef Wieniawski and André Wormser.

There’s an interesting anecdotal story told in Marguerite Long’s biography by Cecilia Donoyer.  Long was a pupil of Marmontel’s son at the Conservatoire.  She had played Schumann’s Carnaval so well, he wanted his Father to hear it.  An appointment was made for her to meet and play for his Father on the afternoon of January 16, 1898.  She arrived at the senior Marmontel’s apartment building and the concierge queried her as to where she was going. She told him Monsieur Marmontel’s apartment and the man denied her entrance as the Master had passed away earlier in the morning.  Later, she apparently spent a great deal of time in that apartment which was inherited by his son.  Delacroix’s painting of Chopin hung in the home, the one which is today at the Louvre. 

Marmontel as a composer wrote like Chopin almost exclusively for the piano.  His works include both antique pieces as well as more modern salon works.  Many written for his pupils to fill voids in the literature of the time.  Like Rossini and Viardot, Marmontel’s home was filled with music, he ran salons with his wife of the musical luminaries in and those visiting Paris.  He would often play his own works during those salons.  Autographed examples of the works are quite rare. 

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