Creating Madame Landowska.
The roots of Landowska's self-representation as the "goddess of the harpsichord" and the myths associated with it reach back to the beginnings of her career in prewar Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. (5) The French capital provided the cultural context within which Landowska's career as performer, composer, and scholar was molded. As a young woman in her twenties she could draw on models of gendered performance tested by other female musicians in the French capital. Indeed, the strategies that she and her entourage developed in these early years created "Madame Landowska," as she was known, by instrumentalizing successful female career tactics in prewar Paris so as to forge her own unique artistic identity. Landowska's claim for artistic uniqueness, her increasing musical specialization as a harpsichordist, her (self-)representation as "musical daughter" of Bach, her emphasis on a special musical calling, the relentless rhetoric of exceptionality and artistic struggle not only characterize her (auto)biography since the 1940s but also reflect key elements of women's professional strategies in the Parisian musical world around 1900. (6) Her correspondence and other documents from these early years reveal that she was an active agent in the creation of her public persona while drawing on a support network that included her husband, Henri Lew, her impresario, Gabriel Astruc, and a host of wise if not always old men such as Charles Bordes and Leo Tolstoy.
Paris, Women, and Harpsichord Music
Women musicians in particular were attracted to fin de siecle Paris because it offered career opportunities that were scarce in other cities such as Vienna, Berlin, and London. (7) Paris had a cosmopolitan and financially well heeled audience, dozens of concert series, hundreds of salons and concert societies, many schools and conservatories--all spaces within which a young, ambitious musician could carve out a place for herself. What Walter Benjamin so famously called the capital of the nineteenth century represented not only a place full of career opportunities but also the cultural and musical center of a Europe that needed to be conquered for any major international career to flourish. (8) Paris presented thus an ideal milieu for the ambitious young pianist and fledgling composer Wanda Landowska, who moved to the French capital in 1900 at the age of twenty-one to fulfill her "mad desire to be famous." (9)
What follows presents the story usually told: Landowska and her new husband, Henri Lew, arrived in Paris as unknown, impoverished Polish immigrants who struggled to survive. Rather than pursuing a lucrative career as a piano virtuoso, Landowska instead began her battle for the revival of the harpsichord as the true instrument of early keyboard music. Driven by her love for the music of Bach, she followed this dream even against the advice of her close friends. An oft-quoted letter dated July 31, 1903, from Landowska's friend Charles Bordes serves as evidence, since in it he suggested that Landowska should play early music "but not on the harpsichord." (10) Landowska persisted, however, and introduced unsuspecting Parisian audiences to the harpsichord in baby steps by programming one or two works played on the instrument in concerts otherwise performed on the piano. (11) "Imagine how I had to fight," she said in a 1953 interview, identifying pianists as the "enemy ... against me." (12) But by 1908 she had arrived. She was, in her own words, "the most popular instrumentalist of this time."
As is the case with most such myths of artistic beginnings, Landowska's story is revealing particularly in what she and her entourage omitted in order to legitimize the claim of an exceptionality that set her apart from her contemporaries. That Landowska, from an early age, hoped to play works by the composers whose music she loved is not in question. (13) Contrary to common belief, however, Landowska was not the only woman harpsichordist in early-twentieth-century France. Nor was her choice of repertoire uncommon or particularly visionary when seen in the context of fin de siecle Paris. What set her apart, however, was the brilliant use she and her supporters made of the cultural field of Parisian musical life to establish her highly successful career within less than a decade.
The harpsichord was never entirely absent from French music making, but it regained wider interest during the Second Empire, especially within musicians' and salon circles, following the imperial court's interest in all things rococo. Thus in 1856 the Parisian piano maker Charles Fleury restored a Taskin harpsichord that was played by a Josephine Martin in a concert on April 5, 1857, during which "the instrument, which has become quite rare, ... produced a lively sensation and the success that it shared with the performer was complete." (14) Both the well-known pianist Amedee Mereaux and his even better-known female student, Charlotte de Malleville, performed Baroque repertoire sporadically on the harpsichord. (15) The highlight of an evening in April 1861 at the Rothschild salon was Georges Pfeiffer's harpsichord performance of works by Rameau, Gretry, Mozart, and Haydn; in the 1860s the Parisian piano virtuoso Louis Diemer started to include one or two pieces on the harpsichord in his piano recitals; and later, in the 1870s, Camille Saint-Saens gave several lecture-recitals on the harpsichord for the Societe des Compositeurs. (16) Though the harpsichord remained an antiquarian curiosity, it also held fascination as a sound object from the ancien regime. Indeed, by the 1860s the eighteenth century had been transformed into a time of past French glory, with Marie-Antoinette's harpsichord the most fetishized musical instrument from this past. (17) Even though harpsichords continued to be criticized for their tone quality and limited expressive range (in Bordes' later formulation reducing "superb and often largescale works to the size of its tiny, spindly legs"), the growing fascination with "all things past" opened the path for the harpsichord revival of the fin de siecle. (18) In the Third Republic the harpsichord and its repertoire soon became musical signifiers of an aristocratic France that embodied national taste, grace, elegance, and finesse, celebrating courtly refinement in the performance especially of works by the French clavecinistes. (19)
This growing interest in the instrument led, in the mid-1880s, to the development of newly constructed harpsichords by three Paris piano manufacturers, Pleyel, Erard, and Tomasini. (20) They were presented to the public for the first time at the 1889 Exposition universelle in the Galerie Desaix, together with new pianos and harps. Marie-Antoinette's harpsichord, on the other hand, fascinated visitors in the retrospective of historical musical instruments, and Diemer's performances on his Taskin harpsichord charmed listeners at the Trocadero, while visitors to the art exhibition could admire Horace de Callias' rendering of a salon concert with Diemer at the harpsichord. (21) Pleyel's, Erard's, and Tomasini's new harpsichords were celebrated as improved music machines, useful in particular for the revival of the glorious past of French music and to provide enjoyment for society women. Indeed, the discourse on the instrument was ambiguous, veering between nationalist fascination, on the one hand, and gendered mistrust, on the other. Thus in 1889 Saint-Saens praised the "delicious" nature of the new Pleyel instruments but insisted that harpsichords were instruments of women's boudoirs, best suited to accompanying delicate song. (22) But in particular through Diemer and other pianists concertizing on the harpsichord the instrument was reintroduced into the salon circuits and elite concerts of Paris, keeping the repertoire alive in the circles of nobility and upper bourgeoisie. (23) Furthermore, concerts by ensembles such as the Societe des Instruments Anciens--founded in 1895 by Louis van Waefelghem (viola d'amore) with Jules Delsart (viola da gamba), Laurent Grillet (hurdy-gurdy), and Louis Diemer (harpsichord)--started to bring into the more mainstream worlds of Parisian music a repertoire played on "authentic instruments," as they were called then and now. (24) The harpsichord also began to attract composers, including Francis Thome (who wrote a rigadon for harpsichord in 1889), Armande de Polignac, and Marie Prestat. (25)
As Katharine Ellis has recently shown in her magisterial monograph on the revival of early music in nineteenth-century France, music from the past played an increasingly significant role in nineteenth-century Parisian concert life. By 1900 early music formed an unquestioned part of the repertoire, but not all early music carried the same weight. The gendered connotations of keyboard music had become rather complicated. (26) Baroque keyboard works associated with the harpsichord had become a staple of concert programs by female performers, and in 1898 and 1900, for example, Bach was assigned in the end-of-year competitions for female piano students at the Paris Conservatoire. (27) This contrasts with the far more masculine image associated with both Handel's and Bach's organ works as championed by Saint-Saens, Charles-Marie Widor, and Alexandre Guilmant, among others. (28) Around 1900, however, we see shifts in repertoire, with more and more male pianists integrating Bach, Handel, and the French harpsichord composers into their concert programs, albeit mostly still on the piano. (29) Indeed, playing the works of the French clavecinistes became a form of local legitimization, as in the case of Joaquin Nin, whose 1904 debut concert in Paris included pieces by Chambonnieres, Couperin, and Rameau. (30)
But Bach and his contemporaries also remained firmly in the domain of female pianists and harpsichordists. Most prominent among these was the young pianist Blanche Selva. Barely twenty years old, Selva presented Bach's complete keyboard works in 1904 in seventeen piano recitals at the Schola Cantorum, a feat that she then repeated in subsequent years. A review in 1906 designated her as "without doubt Bach's most worthy priestess." (31) Selva also played Bach on the harpsichord, albeit more rarely and with less success. Other female harpsichordists who performed in Paris during these years were Pauline Auclert, Marguerite Delcourt, Elodie Lelong, Regina Patorni-Casadesus, and Juliette Toutain. (32) Male harpsichord players included not just Louis Diemer but also a younger generation such as Alfred Casella, Jules Jemain, Joaquin Nin, and Ricardo Vines. None of these female and male musicians was exclusively dedicated to the harpsichord, but they all counted among the growing circle of Paris's early music keyboard players. Their performances were complemented by their musical anthologies, lectures, and publications. (33) It is this Parisian context that shaped and enabled the career of Wanda Landowska.
The Parisian Beginnings of a Polish Composer-Pianist
After the young musician arrived in Paris she soon started to emerge in public as both a composer and a pianist. Indeed, within a year of her move Enoch & Cie, one of the major Parisian music publishers, had brought out several of her piano compositions, including the etude caracteristique, En route, op. 4; Lied, op. 5; Reverie d'automne, op. 6; and Danse polonaise, op. 7. (34) The latter was dedicated to Clothilde de Kleeberg, one of the star pianists of the period. Landowska herself performed another one of her own pieces, Rapsodie orientale for piano, in a concert in November 1901, during an evening concert at which fifteen performers presented works published by Enoch. A second concert that season, organized by the journal Femina on March 14, 1902, featured her playing three of her piano pieces and her variations for two pianos as well as accompanying four of her songs. (35)
Through Enoch, Landowska also seems to have gained links with the publisher Pierre Lafitte & Cie, which brought out two prestigious illustrated journals, Femina and Musica, both of which presented Landowska as a composer-pianist in those early years. (36) In 1902 she was featured alongside highly respected women composers such as Augusta Holmes and Cecile Chaminade in an article about women's admission to the Prix de Rome. (37) Landowska claimed, "I don't understand the puerile objections to this project, I see only the fear of competition among the men, and that is not a pretty sentiment." (38) Less than a year later, in February 1903, the same elegant but resolutely plain photograph that had accompanied the Femina write-up appeared as a full-page portrait in Musica, with a brief text that presented her as a charming pianist and a composer of brilliant piano music:
The subscribers of the Concerts Lamoureux are still under the spell of the highly individual talent with which she played a delicate Mozart concerto last year, and the worshipers at the Schola Cantorum consider her the dream interpreter of Bach. She is the author of brilliant piano compositions and of a number of songs that are animated by the powerful spirit of her Polish fatherland. Is she more composer than virtuoso or more virtuoso than composer? The future will pronounce: perhaps she is equally talented as either. (39)
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In this short promotional text the comparison with Chopin, the great Polish composer-pianist, is all too obvious. Indeed, two months earlier a reviewer had already made the link explicitly by explaining to his readers that "Madame Wanda Landowska, who, if I am right, has only recently made her appearance in France, is a compatriot of Chopin, and she too [is] a pianist and composer." (40) As a Polish composer in the good company of the Romanian Georges Enesco and the Russian Vladimir Dyck, Landowska was celebrated as a prizewinner in Musica's 1903-4 composition "tournament," where she shared first prize for an unspecified piano composition and won second prize for a song. (41) Thus her nationality added a special flavor of cosmopolitanism and artistic lineage to her artistic persona as a composer-pianist.
Her debut as a pianist in a major Parisian concert took place on February 16, 1902, at the Concerts Lamoureux, where she performed Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat Major, K. 271. In a lukewarm review the critic for Le Menestrel attested to a "certain elegance" in her rendering of this "charming concerto." (42) Her first appearance in a concert associated with the Schola Cantorum occurred two months later, on April 26, 1902, in the context of a Bach cantata evening during which she played a prelude and fugue in F major by Bach and his second partita, both on the piano. (43) Most of her documented performances between April 1902 and June 1903 were connected with the Schola Cantorum, usually in the guise of a short appearance within the concert series dedicated to either Bach or Mozart. Save for her performance of an unspecified piano concerto by Mozart on November 27, 1902, she appeared not as a soloist but as a chamber music player in Mozart evenings. (44)
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The years immediately after Landowska's arrival in Paris thus brought her moderate success as a Polish composer-pianist whose achievements were compared to those of Chopin and, to a lesser extent, Paderewski. While Landowska clearly tried to explore where this path might lead her, she tried other career tactics typical of women musicians in Paris. She established herself as a sought-after piano teacher and was featured in Femina in an article in which she promoted herself as such to the daughters of the journal's readership. (45) This not only gave her some economic stability but also played on the trope of female nurturing that pervaded discourse on teaching in Third Republic France. (46) The article in Femina is illustrated by pictures that emphasize the motherly quality of music teaching, while her text reproduces the by then familiar cliches of femininity in performance by contrasting male virtuosity with female elegance, especially by stressing the need for "the finest and most delicate hand" in order to play the feminine repertoire of Bach, Haydn, and Mozart. (47)
But while Landowska tapped into the career opportunities and rhetoric of teaching, she also sought out allies and supporters, whether in the context of Parisian journalism or through the institutions of the French capital. This was clearly her strategy in terms of her affiliation from 1902 onward with the Schola Cantorum (founded in 1894), which was known as a place hospitable to women and foreigners, in contrast to the Conservatoire, which was closed to foreigners and dominated by men. (48) Landowska's link to the institution seems to have been mainly through Charles Bordes, a composer trained by Cesar Franck who, in the 1890s, became best known for his work on early music through the performances in particular of Renaissance polyphony with his chapel choir, the Chanteurs de Saint-Gervais. Bordes was the driving force behind the foundation of the Schola Cantorum and dominated its concert activities for the first decade. (49)
As a soloist Landowska's specialization in Baroque and Classical keyboard music not only associated her with a newly canonic repertoire traditionally associated with female performers but also enabled her, like numerous other female performers of the period, to style herself as a specialist, serving the music of great masters from the past. Bordes' letter to Landowska from July 1903, which is normally used to prove that he discouraged her from playing the harpsichord, offers insight into this strategy of specialization. After his sideswipe against the instrument, Bordes suggested that she should create a "splendid specialty" by playing the works of Bach, Couperin, Chambonnieres, and Rameau, and he offered "to give a whole series of concerts with you this winter, at the Schola, to build up your name in this repertoire." (50) It seems that only one concert happened and that the rest of the series that Bordes planned for Landowska was cancelled after Bordes' stroke in the same month.
The first of these concerts, the "Concert of French Music of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," took place at the Schola Cantorum on November 12, 1903. Masterminded by Bordes to celebrate the national heritage of France, the concert opened the winter season at the Schola with "the flowers of Rameau, Clerambault, du Mont, etc.... nothing but French." (51) This multiartist concert featured Landowska playing, for the first rime, French Baroque repertoire, with three dances each by Chambonnieres, Louis Couperin, and Francois Couperin as well as Rameau's Les tricotets, La poule, and L'Egyptienne. It is clear that Landowska's choice of repertoire at this point relied on widely accessible editions, in particular by Diemer. (52) Although announced in the program as a harpsichordist, Landowska performed her selection of works on the piano, a decision that the reviewer of Le Courrier Musical criticized as stylistically problematic because "the abundant ornamentation, meant to compensate for the dryness of the harpsichord and to bring into relief the accents of the melodic line, becomes useless overfilling on the piano." (53) What this and other reviews indicate is an awareness in musical circles of performance issues regarding late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century harpsichord music. These reviews also encourage rather than discourage attempts at historically informed performance practice on "authentic" instruments. This is a far cry from Landowska's later claims to being a pioneer, especially given that the review in Le Courrier Musical actually chastised her for playing on the piano.
When Bordes' stroke brought about his marginalization within the Schola and aided the rise of his colleague, the composer, teacher, and conductor Vincent d'Indy, Landowska lost this institution as a performance environment. Almost immediately after taking over d'Indy shifted the aesthetic priorities of the Schola Cantorum toward a more monumental conception of history, a change reflected in the concert programming of the school, where large-scale performances--starting with Monteverdi's Orfeo--took the place of the more eclectic approach of Bordes. D'Indy also clearly began to push his protegee, the young Bach interpreter Blanche Selva, at the expense of Landowska, who had been aligned with Bordes. (54) In January 1904, in the new spirit of the Schola of representing the monumental work, Selva started her first Bach cycle (on the piano), establishing her reputation as the unrivalled interpreter of Bach, a composer who had two Parisian societies dedicated to spreading his gospel: the Societe des Concerts J. S. Bach and the Fondation J. S. Bach. Indeed, Selva was to dominate Bach performance at the Schola for years to come. "A star of the first order," she was praised as a commanding performer "who better than anyone else ... knows how to trace the form of the god in powerful lines." (55) While Landowska began to establish herself in Paris as both a composer-pianist and a competent performer of early music, she could not rival the Schola-sanctioned reputation of Selva as Bach player during those years.
Consequently, in 1904 Landowska seemed no more visible in the Paris concert circuit than in 1902-3. After winning the Musica tournament in January 1904 she played in the salon of Madame Maurice Gallet in February. (56) Also in February 1904 Landowska seems to have given her first major solo recital, an all-Bach evening, in the Salle Erard. It included mostly Bach's so-called pianistic works--those on a smaller scale written for harpsichord and performed by female musicians for decades rather than his organ compositions--and some of his more "commanding" works, such as the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue. This was the first occasion when Landowska played several pieces publicly on the harpsichord, following the concert model that Diemer had launched almost half a century before, when he began to include performances on the harpsichord in his piano recitals. An unidentified reviewer praised her as an "excellent interpreter" of Bach and lauded in particular her "very beautiful performance" of the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue on the piano and her "extraordinarily colorful" rendition of the gigue from the Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major on a modern Erard harpsichord. (57) As a result, an article on eighteenth-century female harpsichord players, published in Musica in April 1904, refers in its introduction to Landowska, "the remarkable Bach interpreter who played various pieces by her favorite master on the harpsichord," while a sister harpsichordist, Elodie Lelong, had just ravished the musical world with a harpsichord recital on her own historic instruments. (58) But compared to other musicians such as Selva, Landowska made little headway in Parisian concert life during these months.
Career Shifts and Identity Slippages
Things changed dramatically, however, in September 1904, when Landowska signed up with the Societe Musicale, the new concert agency established by the impresario and editor Gabriel Astruc. (59) In Astruc, Landowska found--at least at the outset--an experienced manager who believed in her and who helped her channel her desire for fame and fortune into a clear and highly successful strategy. A five-year contract guaranteed Landowska a minimum annual income of 6,000 francs. While its conditions were rather restrictive compared to those of Astruc with, for example, the opera stars Lucienne Breval and Lina Cavalieri, it nevertheless seemed to boost Landowska's enthusiasm for and commitment to a career as an early music specialist. (60) After signing the contract Landowska must have felt that she was on her way to becoming for early music keyboard playing what Cavalieri was for opera: a glorious and glamorous star. (61) As he did with other musicians, Astruc saw success as a multistep campaign: an international tour came first, followed by the great presentation in Paris. From November 1904 to January 1905 Astruc sent Landowska on a European tour to Brussels, Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Venice, and Brescia, about which she and her husband reported in almost daily telegrams, celebrating success after success. (62)
In Berlin Landowska performed on both a "beautiful, sonorous" Pleyel grand piano and one of Pleyel's modern harpsichords. In addition to unspecified works by Bach, her program included Couperin's Les folies francaises, a sarabande by Mattheson, and the Grobschmiedvariationen by Handel. (63) Her Parisian debut as a dedicated early music keyboard soloist with a new programming strategy was scheduled for February 1905 and prepared via a press campaign, including a feature article in Musica (see below).
As we may infer from later letters, Astruc and Landowska seem in September and October 1904 to have carved out her new image as that of a passionate performer of early keyboard music on authentic instruments and their modern siblings, foregrounding the performance practice over the repertoire. Through dress, performance, and rhetoric Landowska and her manager started to emphasize ber femininity and elegance in ways customary for press campaigns for divas. No longer promoting her professionalism as a Polish composer-pianist and piano teacher, her revamped artistic identity played on a gendered trope of female self-representation that was probably familiar to Astruc, whose emphasis as impresario rested on opera and who represented some of the best-known singers of the time. (64) Landowska's earlier concerts had focused on repertoire, as in her 1904 Bach evening or the Bordes concert of French keyboard music in November 1903. Now her programming strategy, in addition to highlighting her femininity and aristocratic mystique, shifted dramatically to emphasize her exceptionality and specificity as a performer of exquisite musical rarities on unusual instruments. Thus in February 1905, on her return to Paris, she presented two solo recitals at the Salle Pleyel that were advertised as "a piano, fortepiano, and harpsichord recital in which she invokes Bach and his contemporaries" and that presented a history of the waltz from Byrd's La volta to Chopin's valses. (65) She introduced the instruments to her audience through a short verbal commentary before playing the various pieces on their appropriate instruments: voltas by Byrd, Chambonnieres, and Morley on the harpsichord, followed by Schubert's Valses nobles and Valses sentimentales on the fortepiano, and the Valse des sylphes (Berlioz/Liszt) and an unspecified waltz by Chopin on the piano. (66) The chronological organization of the program aligned several hundred years of keyboard music with the developments of the various instruments, crafting a symbiotic relationship between musical and technical shifts that allowed the audience to enjoy aurally and visually what Landowska four years later called "the jouissance of the sense of history." (67)
The program contained a novelty, an 1830 Pleyel forte-piano that was Landowska's discovery and at first hers to perform on. While other musicians rivaled her on the harpsichord (in 1905, most notably, Marguerite Delcourt), Landowska was the one to introduce the fortepiano to Parisian audiences. But someone else soon threatened her exclusive use of the instrument. Marked "very urgent," a letter to Astruc revealed the danger in a cry for help that reflects the importance she invested in the instruments themselves for her new artistic identity:
Yvette Guilbert wants to steal the fortepiano in order to plug it into her sessions (at the same time as the harpsichord). I need continuous use of it for concerts & for sessions that I give at home for the press. Y. Guilbert can very well do without it given that until now she only used the piano and harpsichord, h is I who have found this old box at Pleyel; nobody cared about it before my concert. Mademoiselle Delcourt has never studied this instrument. One cannot permit it to be vulgarized in a maladroit manner, especially since once it is in the hands of Schiller he will stuff it in all his sessions, and I will never have it again. I hope, dear friend, that you will explain this all to Lyon, who promised at the beginning that he would not let the harpsichords be dragged around everywhere, remember? As far as the fortepiano is concerned, before I have had enough time to impose it on the press and the public, someone who does not know how to play it will compromise it! will steal it from me. (68)
But Landowska pleaded in vain. The fortepiano was to enter the new show of Yvette Guilbert, an unsuspected and at first glance unlikely rival in the Parisian world of early music.
After a long and successful tour through the United States and parts of Europe Yvette Guilbert had returned in 1905 to Paris to present her new artistic persona. Formerly a cabaret star of Montmartre, the famous singer had transformed herself into an early music performer who celebrated the French chansons anciennes in concerts. She wore eighteenth-century costumes in a series of semistaged works at the Bouffes parisiens between March 23 and April 14, 1905. (69)
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Accompanied in her concerts by Casadesus' Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens, Guilbert presented herself to the public as a specialist in the repertoire and an informed, "hardworking scholar." (70) The show had already competed with Landowska's Concerts in Berlin in November and December 1904, where Guilbert and the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens performed to both a sold-out Bechsteinsaal and, the week after, a full Beethovensaal. (71) In Paris journalists credited her with bringing to life this old repertoire: "the harpsichord, made fashionable again by the chansons of Yvette Guilbert and also thanks to the agile fingers and impeccable and charming technique of Mademoiselle Delcourt." Delcourt was hailed as the Parisian "queen of the harpsichord" in 1905. (72) But to add insult to injury for Landowska, Delcourt not only performed solo harpsichord music of Couperin and Lully in Guilbert's shows at the Bouffes Parisiens but also--as they evolved over the weeks--accompanied her on the 1830 fortepiano, supplied by Pleyel, in a series of four songs grouped under the title "CHANSON '1830.'" (73) The self-conscious illusion of historical authenticity could not have been pushed further. (74)
But in the spring of 1905 Guilbert and the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens were not the only performers to contend with Landowska for preeminence in the vibrant Parisian concert life dedicated to early music. On Match 27 Ricardo Vines presented a "historie concert" on an "authentic harpsichord," while in May Reynaldo Hahn organized two concerts, one dedicated to Lully, the other to Rameau. Not only did the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens perform at these occasions, but Diemer played three Rameau pieces on the harpsichord in between operatic numbers by the same composer. (75)
Competition for Landowska the harpsichordist and early keyboard specialist was therefore quite strong in 1905 Paris, and she needed to distinguish herself even more sharply from other musicians than in previous years. Her public persona differed from that of Delcourt, who performed in an ensemble under the paternal guidance of the venerable French composer Camille Saint-Saens, the cofounder and president of the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens; Delcourt's subservient place was far more fitting to traditional female roles. In the concerts with the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens Delcourt played some solo repertoire, such as Couperin's Carillon de Cythere, but she mainly performed as a continuo player and accompanist, as she had already previously in several concerts with Bordes' Chanteurs de Saint-Gervais. (76)
In contrast, Landowska worked unremittingly on becoming a star performer and recognized soloist by throwing herself into the battle with, as she wrote later, "all the energy of her youth ... sustained by the inner self-confidence of her God-given genius." (77) While her fledgling specialization was that of the scholarly yet delicate virtuoso keyboard player, the composer to whom she turned for validation was Johann Sebastian Bach. Although her choice was not unusual for the time, it raised the stakes significantly. Her declared aim was to secure her place as the foremost keyboard player of her time who performed Bach in the most authentic way. More striking still and in an interesting twist, she instrumentalized her gender and her cosmopolitanism in the service of this cause.
In preparation for her "launch" in Paris, as Landowska's husband, Henri Lew, put it in January 1905, Musica--whose editor was now Astruc--published an article entitled "Wanda Landowska, or the Renaissance of the Harpsichord." (78) Lavishly illustrated with photographs that show Landowska at a modern Pleyel harpsichord, the two-page article served as a fascinating advertisement for "Wanda," Astruc's pet claveciniste. (79) The opening sentence revealed to the Parisian readership that Landowska had been on tour for those last months, triumphing as a harpsichordist in Brussels, Berlin, and Vienna by performing masterfully on modern Pleyel instruments, "harpsichords of such perfection that the instrument museum in Berlin acquired an example for its famous collection." (80) Thus before finding out about Landowska's role in the musical renaissance of the harpsichord, the readers of the article encounter her as a sales advertisement for Pleyel's instruments, an economic role often given to female performers. (81) What makes this article so intriguing is the fact that its text presents the tactical cornerstones of Landowska's newly launched career: her physical self-presentation, her musical specialization, her anointing as "noble servant" to the great toaster(s), and her programming strategies. (82)
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After an introduction on the illustrious history of the harpsichord, especially in France, the author, Robert Brussel, began by representing Landowska as the modern reincarnation of the "grandes dames clavecinistes" of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. He had already made that connection a year earlier in the same journal in his richly illustrated article on female harpsichordists that associated the praise of the modern harpsichordists Landowska and Lelong with reproductions of engravings and paintings that showed women in historic costume seated at the harpsichord as well as a photograph of, once more, the harpsichord of Marie-Antoinette. (83) Aristocratic female musicianship at the harpsichord--which he described as appropriate for the "fine," "delicate," and "subtle" aspects of the instruments--was contrasted there with the musicological scholarship on early music by the "savants musicographes," on the one hand, and with the compositional response by male French musicians, on the other. (84) In this context of a journal sponsoring Landowska, the harpsichord and its ideal performer were unequivocally gendered feminine.
After setting this feminized ancien regime context for Landowska, Brussel then described her beauty as reminiscent of the fragile heroines of Maeterlinck and the Pre-Raphaelite virgins of Burne-Jones, her hands "the finest and most spiritual that could be dreamt of." (85) By locating Landowska's artistic persona in her physiognomy Brussel played on popular imagination: through countless artifacts--whether in popular novels or paintings--physical traits had become trivialized markers of human character and ability. (86) For Brussel, Landowska's body as much as her playing turned her into the "musical daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach," the "ideal interpreter of this music." (87) Indeed, he summed up her achievement by claiming that "Wanda Landowska is one of the rare women virtuosos who do not attempt to imitate the performance of men," thus fully embodying her gender in performance. (88) Her fragile and elegant femininity thus turned into a significant asset, one on which Landowska played throughout her career. (89) Just how quickly the popular trope entered critical discourse can be seen in a review of Landowska's February concerts (which took place just a month after this article appeared) in which Jean Marnold lauded "the entirely feminine grace" of her performance. (90)
But Brussel's article contains more clues: he showed Landowska as a diligent researcher who went beyond the presentation of easily accessible scores by unearthing hidden treasures. Her "piety" as a performer and servant to great masters was thus as much proven by her assiduous preparation--to the point of studying the dance steps appropriate for the pieces--as it was audible in her tasteful playing. Her programs, so Brussel claimed, were special and atmospheric, re-creating the period from which they emanated. Contrary to those of other musicians who were satisfied with old routines (a barely disguised barb aimed at Diemer), "each of her programs has a unity, and a general idea governs its composition." (91)
Once femininity, elegance, and grace became the overarching point of reference for Landowska's artistic persona, her aspirations to stardom seemed less threatening. (92) Not only could such quality be put to the service of her artistic cause, especially in the context of the still broadly feminized music of the clavecinistes, but it allowed Landowska and her entourage to focus on the traditional feminine roles of muse (even after the fact) and servant, following a familiar and well-tried story line in women's artistic biographies in which the artwork takes the place of either a man or God/Christ, who is usually put at the center of a woman's life. (93) The religious imagery in the article--Landowska's piety and her resemblance to Pre-Raphaelite virgins--represented her more in the role of the beautiful vestal, however, than in that of the conquered lover. A few years later she reinforced this image of the vestal artist by posing with bearded old men of great renown, such as Leo Tolstoy (in 1907) and Auguste Rodin (in 1908). Landowska used these cliches for postcards and to illustrate articles, as, for example, on the title page of Musica in which she published her article "Tolstoi musicien." (94)
Landowska created this vestal image not only through her physical appearance and public behavior but also through the complete elimination of her husband from any public discourse. While the designation "Madame" gave ber a certain timeless authority, she kept her maiden name. And just as absent as Henri's patronymic "Lew" was the man himself. While Musica and other illustrated journals such as La Vie Heureuse ran numerous articles on the family life of artists such as Ernestine Schumann-Heink and Madame Colonne, Landowska had no private side to her artistic identity. (95) As with her emphasis on mystique and charm, her image here seems to have been modeled more on that of French opera stars such as Lucienne Breval and Rose Caron than on fellow instrumentalists. That this was probably a conscious strategy appears in a letter in which Henri Lew explained to Astruc that even though the Spanish crown princess had invited both of them to a soiree, "of course Wanda went alone." (96)
[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]
Madame Landowska, or Performing Bach as a Woman
On her way to early music stardom Landowska had to set herself apart from one other young female soloist in particular: Blanche Selva, with whom she competed in terms of both repertoire and audience. If the 1905 article in Musica was written for her by a writer in the pay of Astruc and advertised her femininity, grace, and uniqueness in preparation for her Parisian solo concerts, Landowska's own battle cry, her article on the interpretation of Bach in Mercure de France, followed in November of the same year. In it she distanced herself from the musical practices of the post-Bordes Schola in general and took direct aim at her greatest rival of the moment in particular. While never mentioning Selva by name, her target was obvious as a "femme virile" whose Bach performances on the piano "stuffed" her audience with all that is "bulky, fat, big, strong, and powerful, all that collection of monsters and wild beasts." (97) This was not even barely veiled, given that Selva's Bach performances on the piano were widely celebrated for their virility, while her full figure found its way easily into caricature. Thus Landowska disassociated both her own performance and her new core repertoire--the music of Bach--from the controversial figure of the professional "new woman" aspiring to enter male realms. (98)
The article in Mercure was Landowska's first published foray into the debates about performing Bach, and in it she played on tropes of femininity already established for her own performance style and persona by emphasizing the grace, elegance, and even, at times, frivolity of Bach's harpsichord music by characterizing Bach as an "author of gallant pieces, of almost frivolous music." (99) With this rereading of Bach against the grain of the more prevalent masculinist views of the fin de siecle she reaffirmed the femininity that Brussel had associated with her artistic identity eight months previously. Her argument introduced gender as a key category in understanding and evaluating music and its performance. Thus Landowska argued that we should allow ourselves to be seduced by this feminized Bach; when we do, we encounter "a past so admirably distant, so marvelously different from all that surrounds us." (100) Landowska's emphasis on historical distance and the benefits of "authenticity" was not unusual for the time. (101) Far more radical, however, was the way in which she inverted earlier negative tropes of the harpsichord's femininity, turning them to the positive not only as performance but also as an aesthetic category. For Landowska, Bach was neither a Romantic nor a Classical composer avant la lettre, and he most definitely was not that "modernized Bach, arranged according to today's fashion." Rather, Bach took listeners back to a time when women set the standards of artistic beauty to the point that men underwent "painful sacrifices so that they could obtain the sweetness, clarity, and charm of a woman's voice." (102) For Landowska, the world of early music was one in which feminine grace triumphed over brutal masculine strength, harking back to a world of nobility and aristocracy. This difference was symbolized by the sonic and visual contrasts between the grand piano and the harpsichord--or, when transferred to the two Parisian female Bach performers (as implied by the rhetoric of the article), between Blanche Selva and Wanda Landowska. (103)
[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]
By the time the article appeared Landowska was back on tour, gaining triumph upon triumph in Spain, Austria, and Germany. Before that, in April 1905, she had conquered London. All seemed to be working out to perfection, although it became clear after her return in December that Astruc, with whom she had collaborated to put her career on such a stellar course a year earlier, had lost interest in her amid his large-scale projects, which encompassed the Beethoven-Berlioz Festival at the Chatelet and the Opera in 1906, the Concerts Historiques Russes (with, among others, Chaliapin) and French premiere of Salome in 1907, and the seasons of Diaghilev's Ballets russes from 1908 onward. Landowska's concerts--while successful in artistic terms--created a financial loss of almost 3,000 francs for Astruc, and he saw little prospect of improving the situation in 1906. Landowska herself was disheartened both by Astruc's accounting methods and his attitude toward her. (104) It is clear from her letters that she had expected better.
After a serious discussion in early January 1906 Astruc made a renewed effort to place Landowska in Parisian concerts. (105) She played on February 18, 1906, at the Concerts Colonne, again performing Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat Major, K. 271, with which she had appeared first at the Concerts Lamoureux in 1902. (106) Astruc also became involved in casting the performers for the Societe des Concerts J. S. Bach. He placed Landowska in a concert on March 21, 1906, in which she performed Bach's Italian Concerto on the harpsichord and two of his suites on the piano. The spring of 1906 also brought a prestigious appearance in the salons of the princesse de Polignac, whose concerts Astruc managed during these years. At the request of the princess, Landowska adapted her waltz program for the occasion: "In my Voltas & Waltzes program I do not play Bach. This is what I propose: I will begin each grouping with a work by Bach." (107) By framing her revised waltz program with a Bach suite on the harpsichord at the beginning and a Chopin waltz on the piano at the end, Landowska created a trajectory that led straight from the German master of the keyboard to the Polish one. She also put the musical aesthetics of the earlier years of the Schola Cantorum into practice by emphasizing, according to Vincent d'Indy's memorable formulation, a "spiral" of historical development rather than the linear models of progress often associated with nineteenth-century aesthetics. (108)
This salon appearance was followed by a series of four high-profile concerts with works by Bach and the French clavecinistes, reported in some detail in the musical press. Each of those concerts emphasized the solo keyboard player. Landowska also became one of the artists participating in the musicological events of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales, illustrating lectures for the music historians Henri Quittard, known for his research on French lute music, and Jules Ecorcheville, whose research in those years focused on Lully and Rameau. (109) To perform in these venues exposed Landowska to an elite audience, while her contribution certainly added visual and musical appeal to the lectures. (110)
By the summer of 1906 Landowska had unequivocally "arrived." No longer second to Marguerite Delcourt, the 1905 "queen of the harpsichord," or to Blanche Selva, Bach's "most worthy priestess," she had established herself as one of a kind, a musician with a mission recognized for her own special brand of musical interpretation characterized by feminine beauty and historical depth. Even though Landowska played Mozart, Schubert, and Chopin in her 1906 concerts, both her own and her reviewers' emphasis lay on the exquisite and unusual nature of the repertoire selections in her early music performances. And in contrast to Selva, who also premiered new music, Landowska exclusively played repertoire composed before the 1850s. Indeed, her selection of repertoire seems to avoid any pieces that French critics associated with masculine qualifies, including the music of Beethoven. (111)
Reviews teem with descriptions that could equally well be used to describe music and culture of the ancien regime, conflating repertoire and performer in a world of the past: a "delicious harpsichordist who reveals to us the aristocratic beauty of lute music" in Ecorcheville's lecture at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales; an "exquisite" and "ideal interpreter" of the clavecinistes at a concert of pastoral music; playing "delightfully ... and with excellent style" and "leaving the audience with an exquisite impression" after the concert that opened the exhibition of miniatures at the Bibliotheque nationale. (112) By crafting programs that called attention to her scholarly preparation, however, Landowska not only managed to escape the danger of being marginalized as beautiful frivolity, but she also continued to play on the trope of the female educator, a strategy appreciated by her critics and audience: "Composed with impeccable taste, her programs always contain a very important lesson in musical aesthetics. How many virtuosos can be praised in such a manner?" (113)
Such specialization was a strategy adopted mostly by Parisian women musicians, notably Clothilde de Kleeberg, who was celebrated first and foremost as a Beethoven interpreter. In contrast, more often than not male musicians such as, for example, Diemer, Risler, and Vines seemed to emphasize an all-encompassing repertoire with some specialization as a mark of distinction, whether early music for Diemer, Beethoven for Risler, or contemporary music for Vines. (114) But Landowska pushed this envelope farther than most other soloists by aligning repertoire, aesthetics, and musical interpretation with a celebration of aristocratic femininity that was staged to perfection. Her strategies reveal to what extent she was attuned both to the musical world of Paris and to its construction of gender. Her actions to this point and later on in her career show a seismographic sensitivity to her environment that reflects significant awareness for often unformulated horizons of expectation toward female performers in terms of repertoire, self-representation, and performance style. Indeed, both her own rhetoric--starting with the 1906 Bach article--and the texts written about her openly play on gendered interpretations of repertoire and performance practice. Landowska's awareness of discursive tropes reasserted itself throughout her career. Thus when her presentation in concerts might have led to the danger of becoming inconsequential because she and her music could have appeared too delicate and delightful, she started to maintain a sustained public presence as a Bach scholar in publications such as Musica, S.I.M., Mercure de France, Le Monde Musical, and the Bach Jahrbuch; and her book Musique ancienne (1909) gave her scholarship even greater prominence. (115)
From the 1906-7 season onward Landowska also took increasingly greater control over her career. While she was still bound to Astruc through her five-year contract (and she appeared in his 1907 publicity as one of the pianists on his roster), she also seemed to gain a certain autonomy. Although it is highly likely that Astruc, with his strong ties to Russian music, was involved in setting up the Russian tour in 1907, it was Landowska who decided on its length and itinerary. (116) It is not clear when the contract between Astruc and Landowska was dissolved, but from a later advertisement of the Societe Musicale it is obvious that they canceled the contract in mutual agreement well before it expired. (117) Landowska and Astruc remained on good terms, sharing Christmas cakes and visiting each other; but while her former mentor directed his energies toward the foundation of the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, his protegee and her invisible husband put into practice what they had learned about career management, tour organization, press releases, public image, and program strategies during the two years when they worked with one of the most astute music managers of the twentieth century. (118)
The creation of "Madame Landowska" in the years between 1904 and 1906 by the performer and her entourage therefore took place within and reflects the cultural field of Paris in which women were able to forge careers by conforming to two tropes: the "noble servant" to male genius and the exceptional woman defined by difference. (119) Landowska also redefined a repertoire whose femininity, once a cause of marginalization, could be turned to far more positive ends. But the discourse of exceptionality demanded the removing from the record of all who might show Landowska to be just one of many, whether fellow harpsichordists such as Marguerite Delcourt, fellow musician-scholars such as Yvette Guilbert and Blanche Selva, or fellow early music performers such as the members of the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens. Nor could exceptionality admit a long lineage of predecessors, whether women harpsichordists such as Josephine Martin or Charlotte de Malleville or women scholars such as Henriette Fuchs and Michel Brenet. This exclusion of her predecessors remains today in the various Landowska myths about her single-handed championing of the harpsichord and her pioneering role in the early music revival. She was indeed an exceptional woman who made brilliant use of the cultural field of Paris to establish her career. But she did so within a context that needs careful analysis to show just how she became the "uncrowned queen of the harpsichord." (120)
I am grateful to Tim Carter, Katharine Ellis, Catrina Flint de Medicis, Brent Wissick, and my two anonymous readers for their insightful and helpful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this article. A shorter text was presented at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Washington DC, October 26-30, 2005.
(1.) See the PBS production Uncommon Visionary: A Documentary on the Life and Art of Wanda Landowska (1997), by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Diane Pontius (Video Artists International DVD 4246). For her being an "epochale Ausnahmeerscheinung" see Martin Elste, Meilensteine der Bach-Interpretation 1750-2000: Eine Werkgeschichte im Wandel (Stuttgart: Metzler; Kassel: Barenreiter, 2000), 337. For other castings of Landowska as the key figure in the twentieth-century harpsichord revival see, for example, Norbert Dufourcq, Le clavecin (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1949), 118-22; Howard Schott, "Wanda Landowska: A Centenary Appraisal," Early Music 7 (1979): 467-72; Harvey Sachs, Virtuoso (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1982), 153; Alice Hudnall Cash, "Wanda Landowska and the Revival of the Harpsichord," in Music in the Theater, Church, and Villa: Essays in Honor of Robert Lamar Weaver and Norma Wright Weaver, ed. Susan Parisi (Harmonie Park Press, 2000), 277-84.
(2.) In particular, her 1933 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations as well as her versions of the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue (1935) and several suites (1936-37) were the first recordings of these works on the harpsichord. See Elste, Meilensteine der Bach-Interpretation, 362-88.
(3.) Her companion Denise Restout discusses Landowska's concert preparation in Uncommon Visionary.
(4.) Sachs, Virtuoso, 154.
(5.) Bernard Gavoty, Wanda Landowska, trans. F. E. Richardson, with illustrations by Roger Hauert (Geneva: Rene Kister, 1957), 6.
(6.) "[E]lle nous apparait comme une fille musicale de ce Jean-Sebastien Bach" (Robert Brussel, "Wanda Landowska ou la renaissance du clavecin," Musica 4 : 7-8, 8). On women's career strategies in fin de siecle Paris see, for example, Annegret Fauser, "La Guerre en dentelles: Women and the Prix de Rome in French Cultural Politics," Journal of the American Musicological Society 51 (1998): 83-129, and "Zwischen Professionalismus und Salon: Franzosische Musikerinnen des Fin de siecle," in Professionalismus in der Musik, ed. Christian Kaden and Volker Kalisch (Essen: Blaue Eule, 1998), 261-74; Florence Launay, Les compositrices francaises de 1789 a 1914, Ph.D. dissertation, Universite de Rennes II, 2004.
(7.) Sophie Fuller, "A Mount Everest in Music? Ethel Smyth and the Other Women Composers," paper given at the Symposium of the International Musicological Society, Melbourne, July 14, 2004. For women's career opportunities in late-nineteenth-century Britain see Paula Gillett, Musical Women in England, 1870-1914: "Encroaching on All Man's Privileges" (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000).
(8.) That Paris was perceived as "the capital of the world" was not a new phenomenon around 1900; the myth of Paris reaches back to the ancien regime. See Patrice Higonnet, Paris: Capital of the World, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).
(9.) Wanda Landowska, diaries, cited in Uncommon Visionary.
(10.) Letter given in English translation in Denise Restout, ed., Landowska on Music (New York: Stein and Day, 1964), 10.
(11.) Restout, Landowska on Music, 12. That Bordes' admonition may have had more impact than Landowska later admitted may be reflected in the fact that she performed harpsichord music on the piano later in 1903.
(12.) This and the following remark come from the 1953 interview shown in Uncommon Visionary.
(13.) Not only do the documents reproduced in the documentary Uncommon Visionary corroborate this part of her story, but an early article published in Musica in 1905 also claims that her interest in Baroque music began before she came to Paris.
(14.) For information on the harpsichord see Edward L. Kottick, A History of the Harpsichord (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003), 296. For a review of the concert see "Nouvelles," Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, April 5, 1857, 118: "A l'une des dernieres reunions musicales de M. et Mile Martin, cette derniere a fait entendre un clavecin construit en 1770 par Pascal Taskin. Cet instrument, devenu fort rare, a produit une vive sensation, et le succes tout nouveau qu'il a partage avec l'executante a ete complet."
(15.) Katharine Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 40, 50-52. I am grateful to Katharine Ellis for sharing the information about Mile de Malleville. Already by April 28, 1844, Amedee Mereaux had organized a grand concert historique at the Salle Pleyel, where he performed on both the harpsichord and the piano (Malou Haine, "Concerts historiques dans la seconde moitie du 19e siecle," in Musique et societe: Hommages a Robert Wangermee, ed. Henri Vanhulst and Malou Haine [Brussels: Editions de l'Universite de Bruxelles, 1988], 121-42, 124).
(16.) On Diemer see Kottick, A History of the Harpsichord, 400. l am grateful to Katharine Ellis for sharing the information about Camille Saint-Saens. Pfeiffer's concert is reviewed in "Nouvelles," Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, April 7, 1861, 109.
Une seance curieuse au point de vue de l'art musical, a eu lieu la semaine derniere dans les salons du baron de Rothschild. M. Georges Pfeiffer y avait ete appele par Je celebre financier pour faire apprecier les qualites du fameux clavecin du XVIe siecle dont il s'est rendu acquereur, et que possedait M. Pigeory, architecte de la ville de Paris, et fondateur de la Revue des beaux-arts. Le jeune artiste a fort interesse l'auditoire, en faisant redire a cet instrument les airs de Rameau, Gretry, Mozart et Haydn, dont il avait mainte fois retenti sans doute a l'epoque ou florissaient les celebres compositeurs.
(17.) Anecdotes about and references to the harpsichord of Marie-Antoinette abound in the press from the 1830s onward; see, for example, "Varietes: Le clavecin de Marie-Antoinette," Le Pianiste, July 1834, 132-35; its attribution to Taskin in "Nouvelles diverses," Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, July 7, 1867, 219.
(18.) For Bordes see Restout, Landowska on Music, 10. Discussing the modern harpsichord in 1889, Julien Tiersot attributed its development to the immense "engouement actuel pour tout ce qui touche aux choses du temps passe" ("Promenades a l'Exposition," Le Menestrel 55 : 180).
(19.) Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past, 90-96.
(20.) For an excellent discussion of these instruments see Martin Elste, "Nostalgische Musikmaschinen: Cembali im 20. Jahrhundert," in Kielklaviere: Cembali, Spinette, Virginale, ed. John Henry van der Meer, Martin Elste, and Gunther Wagner (Berlin: Staatliches Institut fur Musikforschung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 1991), 239-77, esp. 245-47.
(21.) On the presence of harpsichords at the 1889 Paris World's Fait see Annegret Fauser, Musical Encounters at the 1889 Paris World's Fair (Rochester: Rochester University Press, 2005), 27-34.
(22.) "Et c'est delicieux! c'est bien l'instrument du boudoir, de la femme nerveuse et delicate, sur lequel on peut accompagner un chant discret, une melodie murmuree dans l'oreille entre deux propos d'amour" (Camille Saint-Saens, "Le 'Rappel' a l'Exposition: Les instruments de musique," Le Rappel, October 5, 1889/14 vendemiaire an 98, 1-2, 2).
(23.) On the class-specific consumption of early music see Catrina Flint de Medicis, "Nationalism and Early Music at the French fin de siecle: Three Case Studies," Nineteenth-Century Music Review 1 (2004): 43-66. For example, the performance of Rameau's Dardanus at the Polignac salon featured a harpsichord that had belonged to the father of Prince Edmond de Polignac (Sylvia Kahan, Music's Modern Muse: A Life of Winnaretta Singer Princesse de Polignac [Rochester NY: Rochester University Press, 2003], 92). Prince Edmond de Polignac often "greeted visitors to his Parisian salon by playing his harpsichord" (Kottick, A History of the Harpsichord, 396).
(24.) The Societe des Instruments Anciens started its public concert series in 1895 with a sequence of three concerts at the Salle Pleyel (Haine, "Concerts historiques," 134-35). The Societe's repertoire consisted mainly of French early music.
(25.) On Thome see Kottick, A History of the Harpsichord, 400, which gives a later date of 1892 for the piece. Armande de Polignac's unpublished "Petite suite pour clavecin" and Marie Prestat's three Pieces dans le style ancien (Menuet Louis XIV, Passepied, La reine au petit lever) are mentioned in Launay, Les compositrices francaises, 338. Neither piece is dated.
(26.) Critical discourse in France teemed with gendered approaches to musical repertoire and performance. See Annegret Fauser, "Gendering the Nations: The Ideologies of French Discourse on Music (1870-1914)," in Musical Constructions of Nationalism: Essays on the History and Ideology of European Musical Culture, 1800-1945, ed. Michael Murphy and Harry White (Cork: Cork University Press, 2001), 72-103.
(27.) Katharine Ellis, "Female Pianists and Their Male Critics in Nineteenth-Century Paris," Journal of the American Musicological Society 50 (1997): 353-85, esp. 363. As Ellis has shown, from 1897 through 1900 male pianists were assigned works by Beethoven, a composer never once given to women in the nineteenth century.
(28.) Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past, 55, 85-87.
(29.) Ellis, Interpreting the Musical Past, 88.
(30.) Carola Hess, "Nin, Joaquin," in Grove Music Online (Oxford University Press), <http://www.grovemusic.com>.
(31.) "Le 16 janvier, Mlle Blanche Selva reprenait la serie coutumiere de ses hommages a Jean-Sebastien Bach, dont elle est sans contredit la plus digne pretresse" ("Revue de la quinzaine," S.I.M. 2, no. 1 : 117).
(32.) Indeed, while Marguerite Delcourt was the main harpsichordist of the Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens in its early years, Regina Casadesus prepared herself to take over this role by studying the harpsichord with Louis Diemer (Regina Patorni-Casadesus, Souvenirs d'une claveciniste: Ma famille Casadesus [Paris: La Ruche Ouvriere, 1962], 54-55).
(33.) When Van Waefelghem's Societe des Instruments Anciens gave its first concert series in March and April 1895 in the Salle Pleyel, the programs were introduced by conference-causeries (introductory remarks) (Haine, "Concerts historiques," 134-35). Lectures accompanying concerts became a regular, if not unexpected, feature in concerts of early music. Marie Mockel organized a series of five concerts featuring "une exposition complete du chant monodique," with lectures by Julien Tiersot (Le Menestrel 71 : 157), while Magda le Goff's 1907 concerts, "Musique de XVIIe et XVIIIe siecles," were accompanied by a lecture by Henri Expert (S.I.M. 3 : 167-68). In 1906 Joaquin Nin presented a series of twelve lecture-recitals on musical form (S.I.M. 2 : 318-19).
(34.) Copies of these scores, stamped with the date of the "depot legal" (copyright deposit), are at the Bibliotheque nationale de France, Departement de Musique.
(35.) Restout, Landowska on Music, 8-9. See also Max Riviere, "Nos musiciennes et le Prix de Rome," Femina, April 15, 1902, 115-16: "Mme Wanda Landowska est une physionomie curieuse et seduisante qu'ont pu apprecier les spectatrices du concert de Femina le 14 mars demier" (116).
(36.) Around 1900 Enoch had close business links with Eafitte. See the documents in the private archives of Gabriel Astruc preserved in the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/1.
(37.) On female self-representation and strategies and male resistance in the early years of women's competition for the Prix de Rome see Fauser, "La Guerre en dentelles."
(38.) "[J]e ne comprends pas les objections pueriles faites a ce projet, je ne vois guere chez les hommes que la crainte de la concurrence et ce n'est pas un sentiment bien joli" (Riviere, "Nos musiciennes et le Prix de Rome," 116).
(39.) "Les abonnes des Concerts Lamoureux sont encore sous le charme du talent si personnel avec lequel elle joua l'an dernier un delicat concerto de Mozart et les fervents de la Schola Cantorum la considerent comme l'interprete revee de Bach. Auteur de brillantes compositions pour piano et de quelques lieder qu'anime le souffle puissant de la patrie polonaise. Est-elle plus compositeur que virtuose ou plus virtuose que compositeur? L'avenir le dira: peut-etre est-elle les deux avec un egal talent" ("Wanda Landowska," Musica 2 : 73).
(40.) "Mme Wanda Landowska qui n'a fait que depuis peu de temps, si je ne me trompe, son apparition en France, est une compatriote de Chopin, pianiste et compositeur elle aussi" (review signed P.L., in Le Courrier Musical, December 15, 1902, 299). I am grateful to Catrina Flint de Medicis for sharing this review with me.
(41.) "La Russie est representee par M. Vladimir Dyck, la Pologne par Mme Wanda Landowska, la Roumanie par M. Georges Enesco" (Bretigny, "Les laureats du tournoi," Musica 3 : 244-48, 247).
(42.) "Il s'agit d'une seance agreable sans rien de precisement captivant. Mme Wanda Landowska s'est assuree un joli succes aupres d'une assistance sympathique; elle a joue avec une certaine elegance le charmant concerto pour piano en mi bemol de Mozart" (Alice Hudnall Cash, "Wanda Landowska and the Revival of the Harpsichord: A Reassessment," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Kentucky, 1990, 53 n. 18).
(43.) I am grateful to Catrina Flint de Medicis for sharing with me the program for the second concert in the second series of sacred Bach cantatas on April 26, 1902.
(44.) During the 1902-3 season Landowska appeared as a chamber music player in all three concerts of the Mozart cycle on December 8, 1902, January 15, 1903, and February 13, 1903. I am grateful to Catrina Flint de Medicis for the information on these concerts.
(45.) Wanda Landowska, "Une lecon de piano," Femina, February 15, 1904, 54.
(46.) Teaching as a female profession was strongly encouraged by successive governments in Third Republic France. Discourse focused not only on women's pseudomaternal roles as teachers but also on gender-specific teachings that perpetuated the ideal of "Republican motherhood." See, in particular, Francoise Mayeur, L'education des filles en France au XIXe siecle (Paris: Hachette, 1979); Linda L. Clark, Schooling the Daughters of Marianne: Textbooks and the Socialization of Girls in Modern French Primary Schools (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984); Jo Burr Margadant, Madame le Professeur: Women Educators in the Third Republic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990); Anne T. Quartararo, Women Teachers and Popular Education in Nineteenth-Century France: Social Values and Corporate Identity at the Normal School Institution (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1995).
(47.) "S'il est vrai qu'une certaine musique de pure virtuosite exige des mains de chef de claque, celle de Bach, de Haydn, de Mozart peut et meme doit etre jouee avec la main la plus fine et la plus delicate" (Landowska, "Une lecon de piano," 54). For the gendering of piano repertoire since the early nineteenth century see Ellis, "Female Pianists."
(48.) For substantive research on the Schola Cantorum and the complex economic and artistic shifts relating to the roles of Charles Bordes and Vincent d'Indy see Catrina Flint de Medicis, "The Schola Cantorum, Early Music, and French Cultural Politics," Ph.D. dissertation, McGill University, 2006.
(49.) Landowska credited Bordes as the key figure of the French early music revival in her 1909 book Musique ancienne. "En France, nous voyons a la tete du mouvement tous les plus grands musiciens: Saint-Saens, D'Indy, Debussy, Dukas, et cet infatigable Bordes, auquel nous devons tant" (Wanda Landowska, avec la collaboration de M. Henri Lew-Landowski, Musique ancienne [repr., Paris: Editions Ivrea, 1996], 232).
(50.) Restout, Landowska on Music, 10.
(51.) Charles Bordes to Maurice Emmanuel, September 4, 1903, cited in Bernard Molla, "Charles Bordes: Pionnier du renouveau musical francais entre 1890 et 1909," Ph.D. dissertation, Universite de Lyon II, 1986, 3:289. In an earlier letter of August 1, 1903, to Emmanuel Bordes emphasized that his preoccupation "maintenant c'est le triomphe de la musique francaise et le culte qu'on doit en avoir" (288).
(52.) Several of the pieces (such as Rameau's La poule and L'Egyptienne) were published in the first edition of Diemer's Les clavecinistes francais du XVIIIe siecle. Couperin--Daquin--Rameau. 20 pieces choisies et transcrites par Louis Diemer (Paris: Durand & Schoenewerk, 1887). It is unclear how much autonomy Landowska had in this concert as far as the choice of repertoire is concerned.
(53.) See the review in Le Courrier Musical, December 1, 1903, 329:
Mme Wanda Landowska nous a fait entendre un tres beau choix de pieces de clavecin, les unes un peu freles, de Chambonnieres, d'autres, au contraire, d'une beaute singulierement hardie et expressive, comme la "Passacaille" de Francois Couperin. Nous fumes un peu surpris de les entendre au piano. L'ornementation tres abondante, destinee a suppleer a la secheresse du clavecin et a mettre en reliefs les accents de la phrase melodique, devient au piano une surcharge inutile.... Mais louons sans reserve la comprehension et les qualites techniques fort remarquables dont Mme Landowska a fait preuve.
I am grateful to Catrina Flint de Medicis for communicating the program and the review to me.
(54.) The extent to which Landowska was absent from d'Indy's musical world can be seen in his published correspondence, in which Landowska is not mentioned once. See Vincent d'Indy, Ma vie: Journal de jeunesse--correspondance familiale et intime, 1851-1931, ed. Marie d'Indy (Paris: Editions Seguier, 2001).
(55.) "Revue de la quinzaine," S.I.M. 2 (1906): 117 ("une etoile de premiere grandeur"), 519 ("mieux que tout autre elle sait dessiner en lignes puissantes la figure du dieu").
(56.) On her performance in Gallet's salon see Myriam Chimenes, Mecenes et musiciens: Du salon au concert a Paris sous la IIIe Republique (Paris: Fayard, 2004), 184-85.
(57.) Cash wrongly cites a review for this concert, which she dates February 7, 1904, as published in Le Menestrel on February 15, 1903:
Mme Wanda Landowska s'est montree excellente interprete des oeuvres de Sebastien Bach dans un recital qu'elle a donne mercredi dernier, salle Erard. Son programme comprenait en majorite les compositions de caractere "pianistique"; exception faite toutefois pour la Fantaisie chromatique, oeuvre d'une puissance extraordinaire, souveraine, dont l'execution a ete fort belle. Mme Landowska n'a pas commis la faute de separer les deux parties; mais elle produit en quittant une a une toutes les notes de l'accord en re mineur, pour commencer la fugue [sic]. Certaines oeuvres ont ete jouees sur le piano, d'autres sur un beau clavecin construit par la maison Erard. Parmi ces dernieres, la Gigue, qui fait partie de la partita no. x, en si bemol, a ete bissee d'acclamation. Cette musique, grace a la variete des jeux de pedales du clavecin, prend un coloris extraordinaire, eblouissant. ("Wanda Landowska," 57 n. 26)
This (clearly misquoted) review does not seem to have been published in Le Menestrel either in 1903 or in 1904; nevertheless, it refers clearly to the concert mentioned in Musica in April 1904.
(58.) "Dans un recent concert donne dans la salle Erard, Mme Wanda Landowska, la remarquable interprete de Bach, a execute diverses pieces de son maitre prefere sur le clavecin. Elle a trouve aupres du public l'accueil le plus enthousiaste. D'autre part, Mme Elodie Lelong, qui possede une superbe collection de vieux instruments et de manuscrits musicaux des VXIIe et XVIIIe siecles et a qui nous devons plusieurs indications precieuses, a passionne le monde musical par l'audition de clavecin qu'elle vient de donner au Figaro" (Robert Brussel, "Les femmes clavecinistes," Musica 3 : 288-99, 289).
(59.) On the contract see Chimenes, Mecenes et musiciens, 396. The contract is preserved at the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23.
(60.) The contract apportioned Landowska between 50 and 60 percent of any honorarium, depending upon whether it was a private or public concert, and 40 percent of the gross income of any concert organized by Astruc. Lucienne Breval, in contrast, kept 95 percent of ber honoraria. See the contract of December 3, 1908, between Raoul Gunsbourg and Lucienne Breval, preserved in ber dossier d'artiste at the Bibliotheque de l'Opera. See Lina Cavalieri's dossier in the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/18.
(61.) In a bitter letter of December 30, 1905, Landowska reproached Astruc that while she was short-changed and badly treated, never being accompanied on travels in the way other artists were, she had kept to her side of the contract by going from success to success in the concert hall (Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23).
(62.) The telegrams are preserved in Landowska's file, Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23.
(63.) "Die Pianistin bot nur Bach und seine Zeitgenossen und zwar zur Halfte auf einem schonen, klangvollen Pleyelschen Flugel, zur Halfte auf einem in derselben Fabrik hergestellten Clavecin" (M.St., "Konzerte," Signale fur die musikalische Welt 62 : 1170).
(64.) Lyric artists represented the vast majority of his concert agency business. The artists' dossiers are part of the Astruc papers preserved at the Archives nationales, with those of singers filling seven boxes alone (409AP/16-22), compared to a single box (409AP/23) for all the pianists, organists, and harpists he represented, including Ferruccio Busoni, Alfred Cortot, Raoul Pugno, Arthur Rubinstein, and Ricardo Vines.
(65.) "[U]n recital de piano, piano-forte et clavecin, ou elle invoque J. S. Bach et ses contemporains" (Je Sais Tout: Magasin Encyclopedique Illustre, February 15, 1905, 186). The recitals took place on February 10 and 20, 1905. For the program see Jean Marnold, "Musique," Mercure de France, March 1, 1905, 133-38, 137. According to this review, the program contained numerous pieces that were also given on February 25, 1906, at the Polignac salon (Kahan, Music's Modern Muse, 380).
(66.) A draft of ber notes on the fortepiano, with corrections in red ink in the hand of Astruc, can be found in Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23. Landowska incorporated some of her notes on the fortepiano into the chapter "Le clavecin" in Musique ancienne, 177-91.
(67.) "[L]a jouissance du sens historique" (Landowska, Musique ancienne, 119).
(68.) Gustave Lyon was then director of Pleyel; Maxime Schiller was Guilbert's husband and manager. Undated letter (probably end of March 1905) from Wanda Landowska to Gabriel Astruc, Archives nationales, 409AP/23:
Yvette Guilbert veut nous enlever de piano-forte pour le fourrer dans ses seances (en meme temps que le clavecin). J'en ai besoin sans cesse pour des soirees & pour des seances que je donne chez moi pour la presse. Y. Guilbert pourrait tres bien s'en passer puisque jusqu'a maintenant elle se servait du piano & clavec, seulement. C'est moi qui a trouve cette vieille boite chez Pleyel; tout le monde s'en moquait avant mon concert. Mlle Delcourt n'a jamais etudie cet instrument. Il ne faut pas permettre a ce qu'on le vulgarise maladroitement, surtout qu'une fois dans les mains de Schiller il va le fourrer dans toutes ses seances et je ne l'aurai plus.
J'espere, cher ami, que vous expliquerez tout cela a Lyon, qui au commencement a promis qu'il ne laissera pas trop trainer les clavecins, vous en rappelez vous? Quant au pianoforte avant que j'ai eu assez de temps pour l'imposer a la Presse et au public, quelqu'un qui ne sait pas jouer dessus va le compromettre! va me l'enlever.
(69.) Noelle Giret, ed., Yvette Guilbert: Diseuse fin de siecle (Paris: Bibliotheque nationale de France, 1995), 77. While Guilbert performed chansons anciennes already in 1901, she herself saw this concert series in historic costume as a marker in establishing her "second" career (Yvene Guilbert, La chanson de ma vie [Paris: Bernard Castel, 1927], 191-200).
(70.) "Chercheuse, travailleuse, elle est par consequent renseignee" (G. Davenay, "Yvette Guilbert XVIIIe siecle: La Guimard de la chanson," Le Figaro, March 23, 1905, 4). "Depuis plusieurs annees deja, l'intelligente artiste s'etait faite collectionneuse d'antiquailles inedites; il etait juste qu'elle nous invitat a gouter les fruits de ses patientes et laborieuses recherches" (Les Annales du Theatre et de la Musique 1906:418).
(71.) "Yvette Guilbert fuhrte in dem bis zum letzten Platz besetzten Bechstein-Saal die Pariser Societe des Concerts d'instruments in Deutschlaud ein"; "in dem bis auf den letzten Platz belegten Beethovensaal" ("Konzerte," Signale fur die musikalische Welt 62 : 1202, 1234).
(72.) "Voila le clavecin remis en vogue par les chansons d'Yvette Guilbert et aussi grace aux doigts agiles et a la technique impeccable et charmante de Mlle Delcourt" (Davenay, "Yvette Guilbert," 4). See also Les Annales du Theatre et de la Musique, 1906:419: "Mlle Marguerite Delcourt, reine du clavecin."
(73.) Program of the "Representation de Yvette Guilbert dans les Chansons anciennes avec le concours de la Societe de Concerts d'Instruments Anciens" for the season 1904-5 at the Bouffes Parisiens, Bibliotheque nationale de France, Arts du Spectacle, Fonds Rondel, R0.16.087: "CHANSON '1830' / a. Les Husards de la Garde / b. La Rue d'Anjou et de Poitou / c. La Lisette / d. Tirez le Rideau / Mme Yvette Guilbert accompagnee au Pianoforte (1830) par Mlle Delcourt."
(74.) On nineteenth-century discussions about authenticity in performance of early music see Fauser, Musical Encounters, 39-42.
(75.) Hahn's concerts were advertised and reviewed in great detail and with comments about issues such as authenticity and performing practice in Le Menestrel 71 (1905): 142, 159, 164, 173. On Vines see "Theatres et concerts," La Revue Musicale 5 (1905): 215: "Premier concert historique de M. R. Vines. C'est sur un clavecin authentique que sont executees les oeuvres anciennes." The program included, among others, Purcell, Chambonnieres, Couperin, Rameau, and Bach.
(76.) See the programs at the Bibliotheque nationale de France, Arts du Spectacle, Fonds Rondel, R0.16.087. For Delcourt's performances with the Chanteurs de Saint-Gervais see Flint de Medicis, "The Schola Cantorum."
(77.) Restout, Landowska on Music, 11.
(78.) Brussel, "Wanda Landowska." For Landowska's "launch" see Henri Lew to Gabriel Astruc, Brescia, January 11, 1905, Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23: "Les concerts de Paris sont au point de vue de lancement d'une importance capitale."
(79.) In the first year or so the staff at the Societe Musicale as well as Astruc himself referred to her as Wanda rather than Wanda Landowska or Madame Landowska. See the notes on the correspondence preserved at the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23, and in the notebook about letters, "Depart telegrammes; liste d'adresses, 2 aout 1905-sept 1907" (409AP/2).
(80.) "Le succes triomphal que vient remporter, a Bruxelles, a Berlin, a Vienne, Mme Wanda Landowska remet en honneur le clavecin.... Deja, un maitre dans la facture instrumentale, M. Gustave Lyon, a produit des clavecins d'une perfection telle que le Musee de Musique a Berlin vient d'en acquerir un modele pour ses celebres collections" (Brussel, "Wanda Landowska," 7).
(81.) While male performers from Liszt to Paderewski could appear in a similar guise, endorsing specific piano manufacturers in their performances, the blatant foregrounding of Landowska as an advertisement "model" echoes the ubiquitous use of women for selling commercial products, including musical ones. See Katharine Ellis, "The Fair Sax: Women, Brass-Playing and the Instrument Trade in 1860s Paris," Journal of the Royal Musical Association 124 (1999): 221-54.
(82.) The trope of the "noble servant" and high priestess has been explored for fin de siecle Paris by Jeanice Brooks in her article "Noble et grande servante de la musique: Telling the Story of Nadia Boulanger's Conducting Career," Journal of Musicology 14 (1996): 92-116.
(83.) Brussel, "Les femmes clavecinistes."
(84.) "Il est naturel que le clavecin avec ses delicates rangees de sautereaux, ses fines plumes, ses cordes tenues, ses pedales sensibles, ses registres subtils, ait repondu plus profondement peut-etre a des mains moins vigoureuses"; "Si cette renaissance est due principalement a des femmes qui ont su retrouver le fil mysterieux qui les lie a leurs devancieres du XVIIIe siecle, elle a ete preparee par les travaux de savants musicographes" (Brussel, "Les femmes clavecinistes," 298, 299-300).
(85.) Brussel, "Wanda Landowska," 8. Fragility had become one of the celebrated assets of female beauty in a performer and artist, starting with iconic divas such as Maria Malibran. Like Landowska, the composer Lili Boulanger was repeatedly compared to the fragile heroines of Maeterlinck; see Annegret Fauser, "Lili Boulanger's La Princesse Maleine: A Composer and Her Heroine as Literary Icons," Journal of the Royal Musical Association 122 (1997): 68-108.
(86.) Anne-Marie Thiesse, Le roman du quotidien: Lecteurs et lectures populaires a la Belle Epoque (Paris: Le Chemin Vert, 1984). See also Tamar Garb, Bodies of Modernity: Figure and Flesh in Fin de Siecle Paris (London: Thames and Hudson, 1998), especially ber chapter "Powder and Paint: Framing the Feminine in Georges Seurat's Young Woman Powdering Herself" (115-43).
(87.) Brussel, "Wanda Landowska," 8. On the body as locus for critical discourse see Lena Hammergren, "Different Personas: A History of One's Own?" in Choreographing History, ed. Susan Leigh Foster (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), 185-92.
(88.) "[L]a tradition des grandes dames clavecinistes du XVe au XVIIIe siecles"; "les mains les plus fines et les plus spirituelles qui se puissent rever"; "fille musicale de ce Jean-Sebastien Bach"; "interprete ideale de cette musique"; "Wanda Landowska est une des rares femmes virtuoses qui ne cherchent point a imiter le jeu des hommes" (Brussel, "Wanda Landowska," 8).
(89.) Restout comments on the self-conscious presentation of Landowska and her relentless and often quite personal comments on performers' physical appearance in Uncommon Visionary.
(90.) "[L]a grace toute feminine" (Marnold, "Musique," 137).
(91.) "Chacun de ses programmes a une unite, et une idee generale en regit la composition" (Brussel, "Wanda Landowska," 8).
(92.) On image and self-representation of women artists in fin de siecle France see Fauser, "La Guerre en dentelles"; visual and rhetorical tropes of femininity in early-twentieth-century France are discussed in broader terms in Anne Martin-Fugier, La bourgeoise: Femme au temps de Paul Bourget (Paris: Grasset, 1983); Thiesse, Le roman du quotidien; and Michelle Perrot, Femmes publiques (Paris: Editions Textuels, 1997).
(93.) Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Writing a Woman's Life (New York: Ballentine Books, 1988), 25.
(94.) Wanda Landowska, "Tolstoi musicien," Musica 7 (1908): 95. Postcards can be found among the Astruc papers (Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23) and in the archives of the Musee Rodin, Paris, where Olivia Mattis has discovered a cache of Landowska letters and photographs dating from 1908 to 1910.
(95.) On Madame Colonne see "Un menage de musiciens: Monsieur et Madame Colonne," La Vie Heureuse, 1904:34-35. On Schumann-Heink see Thomas Salignac, "Musique et maternite," Musica 6 (1907): 14-15.
(96.) "L'infante Isabelle nous a invite pour ce soir tous les deux par le Marquis de Meza de Asta. Wanda est evidemment allee toute seule" (Henri Lew to Gabriel Astruc, Madrid, November 24, 1905, Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23).
(97.) Wanda Landowska, "Bach et ses interpretes: Sur l'interpretation des oeuvres de clavecin de J.-S. Bach," Mercure de France, November 15, 1905, 214-30, 222, 230: "On nous a trop rengorges de tout ce qui est gros, gras, grand, fort et puissant, de tout ce musee de monstres et de betes fauves." Landowska included sections of this article in her Musique ancienne, mainly in the chapter "Le style."
(98.) See Debora Silverman, "The 'New Woman,' Feminism, and the Decorative Arts in Fin-de-Siecle France," in Eroticism and the Body Politic, ed. Lynn Hunt (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), 144-63. On the trope of the "new women" applied to female musicians in fin de siecle Paris see Fauser, "La Guerre en dentelles" and Musical Encounters, 129-38.
(99.) "[L]eurs grandes qualites de grace et d'elegance ... Bach, auteur de pieces galantes, de la musique presque frivole" (Landowska, "Bach et ses interpretes," 226).
(100.) "[C]e contact vivifiant avec un passe si admirablement lointain, si merveilleusement different de tout ce qui nous entoure" (Landowska, "Bach et ses interpretes," 229).
(101.) Fauser, Musical Encounters, 41.
(102.) "On nous donne un Bach modernise, arrange a la mode d'aujourd'hui"; "Il n'y a pas longtemps encore qu'on avait l'habitude, a la cour papale, de faire subir aux hommes des sacrifices douloureux pour leur faire obtenir la douceur, la clarte et le charme d'une voix de femme." See also "Les romantiques voient en Bach un volcan tout en feu et flammes; les classiques nous offrent un Bach en congelation" (Landowska, "Bach et ses interpretes," 217, 222, 228).
(103.) While Landowska made her case for performing Bach on the harpsichord the subject of an entire article, the argument is not new. See, for example, Saint-Saens, "Le 'Rappel' a l'Exposition," 2: "La musique de Bach semble particulierement chez elle quand on la confie au clavecin de M. Tomasini."
(104.) The accounts for 1904-5 are in Landowska's file (Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23). Astruc's exact loss consisted of 2,933.85 francs. Furthermore, the accounts reveal that he paid out 1,237.85 francs too much in 1905, a sum that he planned to subtract from the 6,000 francs guaranteed for 1906. In a passionate letter dated December 30, 1905, Landowska characterizes his accounting as "tres injuste."
(105.) This is reflected in his "Depart telegrammes."
(106.) Landowska was not playing in the German city of Cologne, as Cash ("Wanda Landowska," 58) reads the note in Le Menestrel, but at the Concerts Colonne, where she performed at the same concert as the Romanian violinist Georges Enesco, who captivated the audience with his rendering of Bach's chaconne for solo violin; see S.I.M. 2, no. 1 (1906): 213.
(107.) "Dans mon programme Voltes & Valses je ne joue pas de Bach; voila ce que je vous propose: Je commencerai chaque numero par une piece de Bach" (Wanda Landowska to Gabriel Astruc, n.d., Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/23).
(108.) Jann Pasler discusses d'Indy's spiral concept of history in ber essay "Paris: Conflicting Notions of Progress," in Man and Music: The Late Romantic Era from the Mid-19th Century to World War I, ed. Jim Samson (London: Macmillan, 1991), 389-416. Landowska's programming reflected one of the prevalent strategies of constructing music history, most prominently outlined in Vincent d'Indy's Cours de composition musicale, by focusing on interconnections across historical periods rather than espousing progress. With the withdrawal of Bordes from the Schola after his stroke, the Schola moved toward different aesthetic ideals. On Bordes' and d'Indy's competing views of early music see Flint de Medicis, "The Schola Cantorum." See also Annegret Fauser, "Archeologue malgre lui: Vincent d'Indy et les usages de l'histoire," in Vincent d'Indy et son temps, ed. Manuela Schwartz (Liege: Mardaga, 2006), 122-33.
(109.) On the musical lectures see Jane F. Fulcher, French Cultural Politics & Music: From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 59-63.
(110.) A letter by Charles Bordes to Maurice Emmanuel from August 1, 1903 (cited in Molla, "Charles Bordes," 288), shows that the presence of female performers counted as an asset in these lectures: "Je vous donnerai pour appuyer votre conference ce demoiselles Louise et Blanche Mante et moi-meme pour les musiques; on n'a jamais vu 2 femmes pour un conferencier, meme sarrazin, croiriez-vous."
(111.) On gendering repertoire in nineteenth-century France see Ellis, "Female Pianists"; Marcia Citron, Gender and the Musical Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Katharine Ellis, "Berlioz, the Sublime, and the Broderie Problem," in Hector Berlioz: Miscellaneous Studies, ed. Fulvia Morabito and Michela Niccolai, Ad Parnassum Monographs 1 (Bologna: Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2005), 29-59.
(112.) "[D]elicieuse claveciniste nous revelait l'aristocratique beaute de la musique du luth" (Louis Laloy, "Revue de la quinzaine," S.I.M. 2 : 167); "interprete ideale d'une pareille musique" (C.C., "Revue de la quinzaine," S.I.M. 2 : 370); "delicieusement jouees et dans un style excellent," "laissait aux auditeurs une impression exquise" ("Soirees et concerts," Le Menestrel, May 27, 1906, cited in Cash, "Wanda Landowska," 61 n. 32).
(113.) "Composes avec un gout impeccable, ses programmes comportent toujours un tres grand enseignement d'esthetique musicale. A combien de virtuoses peut-on decerner un tel eloge?" (C.C., "Revue de la quinzaine," 370).
(114.) On Kleeberg see, for example, Charles Joly, "Les interpretes de Beethoven," Femina 5 (1905): 208.
(115.) A list of Landowska's writings compiled by Denise Restout is reproduced in Cash, "Wanda Landowska," 331-36.
(116.) The 1907 publicity is at the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/2. A letter to Astruc by J. P[aul] Landowski (409AP/23) informed him that Landowska "se trouve depuis 3 mois en Russie et la tournee, qui devrait terminer en decembre, se prolonge au moins jusqu'a fin janvier par suite de tres nombreux engagements dans la province Russe. Ma seur ne sera donc de retour a Paris que dans les premiers jours de fevrier prochain."
(117.) A note in Landowska's file related to the contract leads me to suspect that it was dissolved on August 26, 1907. The later advertisement is at the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/2.
(118.) In a letter to his collaborator at the head of Musica, Georges Pioch, Astruc pointed out that art was also created by those who enabled it: "Dites-donc, avez-vous fini de m'engueuler? Vous etes tout le temps a me faire sentir votre superiorite de poete. Vous ne savez donc pas, malheureux, que les poetes les plus superbes, les plus exaltes, les plus fulgurants sont les gens d'affaires qui creent des usines formidables d'art ou d'industrie, font vivre des millions d'etres et se font recompenser les 3/4 du temps par une deraison precoce. Je suis aussi poete que vous et je vous prie de me foutre la paix, nom de dieu!" (Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409/API).
(119.) For the rhetoric of the "exceptional woman" see in particular the introductory chapter in Mary Sheriff, The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of Art (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). Landowska's rival, Yvette Guilbert, used the same strategy when she presented her so-called second career in her autobiography, La chanson de ma vie (191-200).
(120.) Elste, Meilensteine der Bath Interpretation, 337.
TABLE 1. Landowska's Concerts, November 11904 to May 1906 1904 11 November Brussels, Cercle Artistique 19 November Berlin 23 November Vienna 26 November Berlin: Voltes & Valses 3 December Vienna 16 December Budapest 1905 6 January Venice 7 January Brescia 31 January Paris (Societe Philharmonique) 10 February Paris (Salle Pleyel): Voltes & Valses 17 February Paris (La Trompette) 18 February Paris (Ecole Normale de Musique) 20 February Paris (Salle Pleyel): Voltes & Valses 25 February Paris (Bouffes Parisiens) 26 February Paris (Arts & Metiers) 27 February Paris (salon Mme Gallet) 10 March Paris (salon Mr. de Monier) 11 March Paris: inaugural concert of Societe J. S. Bach 12 March Paris (Concert Polonais) 3 April Paris (Cours Europeen-Matinee) 11 & 15 April London (Queen's Hall) 24 May London 5 June London (Bechstein Hall) 15 November Edinburgh: Bach & ses contemporains 22 & 24 November Madrid (Sociedad Filarmonica Madrileoa) 28 November Berlin 1 December Vienna 4 December Leipzig 6 December Vienna (concert Spalding) 18 December Vienna (Secession) 1906 15 February Paris (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales) 118 February Paris (Concerts Colonne) 23 February Paris (Reinach) 25 February Paris (Princesse de Polignac): Voltes & Valses 15 March Paris (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales) 21 March Paris (Societe J. S. Bach) 30 March Paris (Salle Pleyel): Musique pastorale 9 April Florence: Mozart Piano Concerto 18 & 19 May Paris (Bibliotheque nationale): French Miniatures 22 May Paris (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sociales) Source: The table is based on information found at the Archives nationales, Papiers Astruc, 409AP/2 and 409AP/23, as well as Parisian periodicals. The list also incorporates notes in Landowska's calendars for these years, preserved at the Library of Congress.
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|Publication:||Women & Music|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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