Misia Sert – Music above all

Misia Sert  came from a musical home and she learnt to play piano even before she could write. Her grandfather was Adrien-Francois Servais, a famous Belgian cellist and composer. As a young girl she was taught piano by the composer Gabriel Fauré, whom she reduced to tears when he discovered that she intended to give up the prospect of a career as a concert pianist.  During her lifetime, in five decades of music transformation, she associated with the most inspiring composers of her time, including Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, Stravinsky, Satie and Poulenc. Paintings and prints by Vuillard, Bonnard and Vallotton depict Misia playing piano to her mesmerised listeners and to us are a reminder of the recitals she used to give to her friends and family. Misia never follow her professional career as a pianist. She once said “I hate playing. Because I love music”. In early thirties in Paris, however, Misia organised a series of concerts for two pianos with the famous pianist Marcelle Meyer. It was a great success.  During one of the concerts, Francis Poulenc whose 9 pieces dedicated to Polish people in Paris she also played,  offered to turn the music pages. She later gave a concert where Princess de Polignac – the last great mecenas of arts played second piano and Serge Lifar danced on top of both pianos to the Afternoon of the Faun. Misia Sert was a valued artistic advisor to Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

 

Misia Sert at 60 (right) with Marcelle Meyer after concert given in 1933 (Vogue – 1934)

Vuillard – Misia at the piano – 1899

 

 Felix Vallotton – La Symphonie, 1897

 
Misia associated with the most influential composers of her time and this is some of her favourite music.
 

 Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) – Passacaille for Piano

   
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
    Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune - 1894
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Pavane – written in 1887
 
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) 
Le Tombeau de Couperin – V.Menuet – 1914
La Valse – 1919, dedicated by Ravel to Misia Sert.
 
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella) for cello and piano – 1931. Stravinsky wrote the ballet Pulcinella for Ballets Russes in 1920.

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Erik Satie (1866-1925) 

Je Te Veux – 1902

 Morceau-en-Forme-de-Poire – 1903, dedicated by Satie to Misia Sert.

 

handel – Google Search

Georg Friedrich