Jablonski, Marek (Michael)


Jaëll [née Trautmann], Marie



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Jaëll [née Trautmann], Marie


(b Steinseltz, nr Wissembourg, Alsace, 17 Aug 1846; d Paris, 4 Feb 1925). French pianist and teacher. She was taught the piano by Hamma in Stuttgart and then by Herz at the Paris Conservatoire, where she won a premier prix in 1862. In 1866 she married Alfred Jaëll, with whom she gave concerts throughout Europe and in Russia. Her repertory included the principal works of Schumann (six concerts, Salle Erard in 1890) and Liszt (six concerts, Salle Pleyel in 1891), and she was the first French pianist to play the 32 sonatas of Beethoven (Salle Pleyel in 1893). As a composer she received the advice chiefly of Saint-Saëns, who dedicated to her his first concerto and the Etude en forme de valse.

She was a friend and pupil of Liszt and from 1882 spent several weeks each year at Weimar, where she performed at his musicales and did secretarial work; Liszt wrote (unpublished) variations based on her waltz for piano four hands. She was the first to use the physiological characteristics of the hand to improve piano technique and to replace mechanical technical drill by a scientifically planned practising method adapted to the peculiarities of the hand’s anatomy. In collaboration with Dr Charles Féré, medical superintendent of the psychiatric clinic at Bicêtre, near Paris, and starting from a study of muscle behaviour and the sense of touch, she tried, through scientific analysis of the movements involved in striking the keys and producing tone, to develop an awareness of the physical act of playing and an ability to create a mental image of sounds. A principal aim of her method, which she set forth in several theoretical volumes, was economy of movement. Her pupils included Albert Schweitzer and Eduardo del Pueyo. She composed piano pieces and songs which, though essentially Romantic, reveal an assimilation of the innovations of the time. Her symphonic poem Ossiane was performed in Paris in 1879.




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