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Marius-François Gaillard’s Debussy: Controversies and pianistic legacy

Rae, Caroline ORCID: 2018. Marius-François Gaillard’s Debussy: Controversies and pianistic legacy. de Médicis, François and Huebner, Steven, eds. Debussy's Resonance, Eastman Studies in Music, Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, pp. 562-580.

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Marius-François Gaillard (1900-73) has long been a mere footnote in French music of the interwar years, remembered if at all for conducting the Paris première of Varèse’s Intégrales (revised version) in 1929. Yet, he first gained attention as a pianist during the First World War, becoming known for his Debussy performances at the Salle Gaveau concerts for the ‘blessés de la guerre’. In 1920, he became the first pianist to perform the (then) complete piano works of Debussy, a feat he repeated at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in March 1922, attracting the unreserved praise of Debussy’s widow Emma Bardac. In 1928, he embarked on a series of Debussy recordings for Disques Odéon as well as piano rolls for Pleyela. This essay explores the legacy of Gaillard’s Debussy recordings, the largest by any pianist until after World War Two, to propose that had his reputation not been tarnished by the negative and highly politicised criticism at the time of his completion of Debussy’s Ode à la France, the quality of his pianistic achievement would merit a position among the pantheon of great twentieth-century French pianists.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Publisher: University of Rochester Press
ISBN: 9781580465250
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 08:39

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