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Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247

 

Price: $350.00

FINE CONDITION

FRANCIS PLANTÉ - PIANIST

Two page autographed letter signed on the pianist’s 3.5” x 4.5” monogram printed note card to the composer and Director of the Paris Conservatoire Ambroise Thomas, Heyéres, March 22, 1884.  We offer with a well produced 6” x 8” glossy image at the piano.

 

March 22, 1884 / Hermitage of Hyères

 

Dear beloved Master,

 

I place these lines under the invocation of St. Cécile, to you of your St. Cécile, giving the foot baths in the blue waves, and which is crowned with azure ... what an enchanting site, and what good has done the affectionate pilgrimage that I will accomplish here, which I have devoted to seek Doctor Jules! What an opportunity to see my protégés, who send their devoted memory to you and to Madame Thomas and what a framework to excuse my little attached request, for four (!) military candidates who beg me to plead for them and their athermanic circumstances of fear! The military throws itself at my arms. I am entrusting you. Can you do it? Here is the list of my protégés that I sent in duplicate to our friend Néty.

 

Thank you, dear and good teacher, and sorry! May St. Cécile protect my young soldiers and, above all, allow you to enjoy a little more memory of the warm rays of the sun from the Villa for the children under my care.

 

Heartfelt wishes you and Madame Thomas.

 

Planté (1839-1934) the greatest French pianist of his generation was in Hyères, on the South of France, known for its’ year round balmy climate, so much so that it is the largest exporter of palm trees to the world.  He would have been staying at Le Hôtel Ermitage, the most luxurious hotel in the town at the time.  It would appear he was there to see the famed French physician Jules Rochard (1819-1896) one of the best known physicians in the South of France at that time and also a pianist and arranger for the piano.

 

Planté refers to Thomas as his teacher, which is an interesting fact we have been unable to confirm in numerous biographical sources, but makes complete sense.  Planté first entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1849 to study with Marmontel.  He was already a seasoned performer, having made his debut at seven.  Within a year he won the Premier Prix at the Conservatoire and was back on tour.  In 1853 he re-enrolled at the Conservatoire ostensibly to study theory with composer François Bazin where he won Seconde Prix in theory in 1855.  Thomas who was awarded the Legionne d’honneur in  1845 and became a member of the Institute in 1851 after the death of Spontini was appointed full Professor at the Conservatoire in 1856 and likely would have taught Planté composition there.  Based upon this letter it makes complete sense that was the case.  Here Planté attempts to get Thomas as Director of the Conservatoire to help four of his pupils from their military service.  There was saber rattling going between France and China in 1884 which led to the Sino-French War which commenced in June.  It would be likely his pupils would have been shipped to Asia.

 

A most interesting letter!