A rare but welcome 10-disc set comes from Eloquence: a comprehensive survey of the 78rpm studio recordings (and two Saga LPs) of the pianist Eileen Joyce (1908-1991). A forgotten figure long before her death – she retired from the concert stage in 1960 – at the height of her career in the 1930s and 40s Joyce packed out venues in her native Australia (Joyce was born in Tasmania but her family soon moved to Boulder, WA) as well as in Britain, where she settled. She was the only female pianist people of my grandmother’s generation had heard of. Her keyboard technique was fluent and sparkling in a way that is uncommon today – more than any later soloist, she makes a virtuoso piece out of John Ireland’s Piano Concerto, in its premiere recording under conductor Leslie Heward from 1943. 

While playing her share of empty showpieces, she still recorded much Mozart, Schumann, Liszt (in La Leggierezzashe vies...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.