• Isoldina

I’ve been meaning to post this track for a while.  I first heard it on BBC Radio 3 and chuckled out loud.  I’m still chuckling.  It’s perhaps the wittiest piano parody of Wagner in a line that includes Chabrier’s Souvenirs de Munich (c.1887) and Souvenirs de Bayreuth (1888) by Fauré and Messager.  The French certainly knew how to prendre le Michel out of Wagner, but Clément Doucet brings such a gentle yet inappropriate joie-de-vivre to Isolde’s Liebestod that it’s impossible not to smile.

Doucet (1895-1950) was born in Belgium, studied with a pupil of Liszt, visited the US in the early 1920s and came back as a versatile jazz pianist with an enviable but light stride piano style.  He played at Le Boeuf sur le toit in Paris and consorted with luminaries such as Cocteau, Chevalier, Piaf, Rubinstein and Casals.  He and his piano partner Jean Wiéner laid into Bach, Chopin, Dvořák and Liszt as well as Gershwin and a host of popular jazz numbers.  You can find 38 of their remastered tracks on Les Rarissimes de Jean Wiéner & Clément Doucet. Les Années folles on a 2-CD EMI Classics album (2005).

Here’s Isoldina on an original Columbia 78 (recorded in Paris on 14 September 1927) – thanks agfamatic91!

And for anyone who wants to try it themselves, here’s the sheet music too.

Doucet_Isoldina (1927)

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