This week’s Tuesday Music Discovery features an immaculate artist who was little known outside of France and sadly left behind but a few recordings.
Germaine Thyssens-Valentin was born Maastricht in the Netherlands in 1902. She studied at the Royal Academy at Liege under Isodor Phillip and Marguerite Long, then under Gabriel Faure at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1924 she married Paul Valentin and hyphenated the two last names. Her marriage brought about a lengthy hiatus to her career as she stayed at home to raise her five children. She resumed her career in 1951 after twent-five years of absence from the concert stage.
She was the first pianist to perform all of the piano works of he teacher Faure in a series of concerts. And today’s recommendation is a disc of Faure’s thirteen Nocturnes reissued on the Testament Label. These recordings were made in 1956 and were re-issued in 2002. It is my ceaseless delving into the music bins of thrift stores that brought me this delightful hour and twenty minutes of music for the astronomical sum of $1.50 American.
Ms. Thyssens-Valentin plays with a gorgeous and sonorous tone that is well captured in these mono recordings. The folk at Testament always have been very spiffy with their re-masterings and this is certainly no exception. I have always adored Faure’s music for its understated emotions and calm serenity. It has been written that Faure lived a charmed life and that his music reflected his happy existence. This elegant, reflective and sometimes elegaic music proves that theory. If you can find a copy of this lovely disc, you’re in for over an hour of delightful quietude.
The release is accompanied by an excellent program booklet in English, German and French.
Testament MONO SBT 1262 79:50