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Price: $350.00

FINE CONDITION

FRANCIS PLANT - PIANIST

Three page autographed letter signed by the greatest of French pianists at the end of the 19th Century to the French pianist Marie Panthes, St. Avit, February 11, 1930.

St. Avit the 11th of February, 1930

 

Dear faithful artist and great friend,

 

I am very happy to hear from you, to know you are in good health, and always the valiant tireless artiste

 

Now, I will tell you in all simplicity and absolute truth, that I did not understand very well in your letter, the questions in the passages concerning records, recordings etc. etc.

 

Sorry, I made a mistake taking questions concerning recordings on discs or anything else related which I no longer will do as I fear that I will create difficulties or enemies of various natures with my great remoteness from the Capital

 

I am sure you will understand me well. Until another day, I advise you to defend your insides against the cold winter by taking good care of your health

 

I tell you I am your very dear friend and admirer,

Plant (1839 - 1934) for several decades had resisted making recordings as he found the process repulsive and was at his happiest in front of a live audience. In 1928 at the age of 89 he created a music Festival in the town of his Summer home in St. Avit which was to be his farewell from the concert platform. At long last he agreed with the urging of critic Ircing Schwerke to make some recordings, however he refused to go to Paris to make them and instead made Columbia Records travel to St. Avit where he made 9 records. (Something about the mountain going to Mohammed was exchanged.) The recordings of Berlioz, Boccherini (Plant arrangement), Chopin, Gluck, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schumann, Schumann (Debussy arrangement) and Weber are not note perfect, however, they clearly are virtuosic and demonstrate the style of performance which hearkens back to the legendary virtuosi of the earlier 19th Century. (He can be heard acclaiming merde at the end of one of the etudes. At the end of the 19th Century, Plant and his dear friend Camille Saint Sans were considered the finest French pianists, Plant the dean of the instrument. It has been claimed that Plant was the earliest born pianist to record, which was not quite the case, as Saint-Sans four years older had made recordings over a decade earlier.

Marie Panthes (1877 - 1955) was a French pianist of Russian birth. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Louise-Agla Massart-Masson and Henri Fissot, winning a first in 1888. She made her International debut in Odessa, the city of her birth in 1888. She concertized regularly in Paris from 1886 to 1936. From 1896 she undertook regular European tours until two years before her death in 1953. From 1904-1917 she was a Professor at the Geneva Conservatoire. She left over an argument with the administration, but returned and taught there from 1931 to 1953. Like Plant, she was not predisposed to recording sessions. She also preferred a live audience. Most of her recordings were made with French Columbia between 1928 and 1936. Two more discs were made after the War on the Pacific label. The recordings were largely made in Geneva with works by Albeniz, Chopin, Liszt, Marescotti and Mozart survive. A pity as she was considered a very fine Romantic pianist and also a friend and champion of Debussy who she frequently programmed in her concerts but did not record. She knew everybody, we at one time sold an imperial cabinet photograph dedicated to her in glowing terms by Tchaikovsky. Interestingly she chose Plant to ask questions about recordings with his opinion well known. We do not know what she asked Plant about making records, but his advice here was apparently heeded with the non-answer and her low number of discs.

Also, with a 6 x 8 modern developed photograph at the piano in 1905.