Pleyel, Marie. (1811-1875)

Autograph Musical Quotation Signed

AMQS of an unidentified work in G minor, almost certainly for keyboard, marked "Lento", written and signed by one of the most celebrated pianists of the early nineteenth century, and perhaps the only female virtuoso-pianist who was consistently ranked with Liszt, and who was briefly engaged to Berlioz.  The inscription reads: "à ma chère et brillante élève/ Franny de Bas/ M. Pleyel/ Bruxelles, août 1851." ("To my dear and brilliant student/ Franny de Bas/ M. Pleyel/ Brussels, August 1851.")  Lightly toned, generally in fine condition.  9 x 7.125 inches (22.8 x 18.1 cm)

Her concert career, which spanned approximately forty years, was one of the most brilliant of the century. She blazed through France, Belgium, Austria, Russia, Germany and England, leaving a trail of rave reviews and delirious fans. Heine evidently included Pleyel in the mighty ensemble of the reigning European piano virtuosos when he called “Thalberg a king, Liszt a prophet, Chopin a poet, Herz an advocate, Kalkbrenner a minstrel, Mme Pleyel a sibyl, and Döhler a pianist.” François-Joseph Fétis, who eventually invited Pleyel to become the first head of the piano department at the Brussels Conservatory, wrote: "I have heard all the celebrated pianists from Hullmandel and Clementi up to the famous ones of today [ca. 1870] but I say that none of them has given me, as has Mme. Pleyel, the feeling of perfection." Associated with some of the most renowned and influential figures of her time, she was a friend of Alexandre Dumas père and Victor Hugo, and her talent and magnetism compelled Robert Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Liszt to sing praises, Berlioz and Gérard de Nerval to lose their hearts (both later wrote short stories based on their turbulent experiences with Pleyel), and numerous prominent composers to dedicate their works to her. She was married to, albeit briefly, Camille Pleyel, who owned one of the most successful piano firms in Europe. Peter Bloom has written that Pleyel “may be the real key to understanding the inner workings of musical Paris in and around 1830.” (18293)

Classical Music