"enchantingly light and sensitive interpretations" — Rémy Franck
Hélène de Montgeroult (1764-1836) is known for her sonatas, which belong to the late classical and early romantic periods and are anything but traditional. No less bold and forward-looking are her Etudes from the Cours Compet pour l’enseignement du forte-piano in three volumes published in 1816. In 1795, the pianist had become the first professor at the newly founded Conservatoire de Paris. With a salary of 2500 livres per year, she was reportedly among the best-paid teachers there.
But she also went down in history as a phenomenal pianist. Baron Louis de Trémont (1779-1852) said that her whole talent was aimed at the expression and the art cantabile. And the pianist of this recording, the British Clare Hammond, says that her music is qualitatively comparable to that of Mendelssohn and Schumann, but at the same time stylistically very advanced. No wonder her 114 Etudes have been associated with the music of Schubert, Chopin and even Brahms.
Clare Hammond accordingly places great emphasis on expression and cantabile, which are the main features of her enchantingly light and sensitive interpretations. And in so doing she would certainly have satisfied the composer who once said, "If singing well is the greatest difficulty on all instruments, one might almost despair of overcoming it on the Forte-Piano, which, deprived of the faculty of sustaining sounds, has given everything when touched; but feeling makes one ingenious, and the need to express what one feels can create resources that escape the mechanic."