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JAËLL, Marie (1846-1925)

Born in Alsace, Marie Trautmann began lessons with Franz Hamma, professor of piano in Stuttgart, at a very young age. She gave her first concert when she was twelve and continued her music studies with Ignaz Moscheles, then Henri Herz at the Paris Conservatoire, where she received the Premier Prix in 1862. In 1866, she met the pianist, Alfred Jaëll, and married him the same year. After studying composition under César Franck and Camille Saint-Saëns (whose friend and secretary she later became), she published her first works in 1871, while pursuing a brilliant career as a soloist. After spending some time in Weimar with Liszt (1883-1885), she gave the first performance of the composer’s complete works in Paris in 1891. She also introduced French audiences to Beethoven’s 32 sonatas between 1892 and 1894. As a composer, Jaëll demonstrated great artistic rigour in works initially written for her instrument of choice: a piano sonata dedicated to Liszt (1871), Dix Bagatelles (1872), some Esquisses romantiques (1883) and three sets of pieces: Ce qu’on entend dans l’Enfer, - dans le Purgatoire, - dans le Paradis (1894). During her career, she also turned her hand to numerous other musical genres: art songs, choral music, musical drama, chamber music and orchestral music. Her varied and interesting output was overshadowed, however, by her large-scale theoretical and pedagogical corpus, which she began in 1891 with her Commentaires des œuvres de Liszt and completed with La main et la pensée musicale