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Sunday Gramophone - Bach: English Suite #6 - Yella Pessl, Harpsichord 1938

(Yella Pessl - Bach would owe her a debt of gratitude if he could) The first of what I hope will be a weekly series of historic commercial recordings, mostly all classical and all from the vault. I'm starting off the series with the sadly
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(Yella Pessl - Bach would owe her a debt of gratitude if he could)

The first of what I hope will be a weekly series of historic commercial recordings, mostly all classical and all from the vault.

I'm starting off the series with the sadly neglected harpsichordist Yella Pessl performing Bach in a recording made around 1938.

Most people these days take the whole period instrument-baroque period music genre for granted. But in the early part of the 20th century, Bach and his contemporaries were pretty much forgotten about in the larger world of music. Some stabs had been made in Europe with people like Wanda Landowska and Nadia Boulanger. And certain very small labels were issuing, in some cases first recordings of pieces we've come to know very well. But for the most part, Bach was relegated to partial obscurity (I know - hard to imagine, but true) and academic dissection.

Pessl was Viennese by birth and emigrated to the United States (real name Gabriella Pessl). She became part of small group of musicians dedicated to the work of early composers and did a lot, via concerts and radio broadcasts, to promote the cause of Bach, Vivaldi, Couperin, Scarlatti and countless others.

Sadly, she didn't record very much commercially - a few 78 sets for Victor (of which this is one), Columbia and some smaller labels and a handful of lp's in the early 1950's.

She's largely forgotten today, save for the academic world which she spent the majority of her life working in. There were the reported rumors she suffered from bi-polar disorder which hampered her performing career and led her in and out of several mental institutions during her life.

But what little she did record has been sought after by collectors over the years and this is one example of why she became known as The First Lady of The Keyboard.

Here is Bach's English Suite Number 6 from Victor set M-443 recorded in 1938.

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