Marion Bauer (Aug. 15, 1882 - Aug. 9, 1955) was an American composer, music critic, teacher, and writer. Born in Walla Walla, Washington, she was the youngest of seven children. Her father noticed her musical inclinations and she began studying piano  with her elder sister Emilie, who was 17 years older than her. 

After finishing high school, Bauer traveled to New York City to be with her sister Emilie, and focus on composition. She also studied with Henry Holden Huss and Eugene Heffley, and through some other connections, Bauer went to Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger. In return for composition lessons, Bauer taught her English. Bauer came back to America after a year in Paris, and continued to study with Heffley, and also began teaching piano and music theory on her own. Just a few years after that she returned again to Europe, this time to study with Paul Ertel in Berlin. She also studied later on with Andre Gedalge at the Paris Conservatory, who had also taught Maurice Ravel and Darius Milhaud. Bauer would go on to teach and lecture at New York University, Juilliard, and Columbia University. She also helped found the American Music Guild, the American Music Center, and the American Composer's Alliance.

Written for solo piano, Six Preludes clearly shows how much an influence French impression was on Bauer at the time. Her writing is colorful and passionate, and each movement has its own very distinct personality. The titles of each movement aren't fanciful or poetic, but instead capture the essence of each movement. You'll hear Impressionism throughout, but particularly in the fifth movement. The movements are named as such:

I. Quietly - For the Left Hand
II. Allegretto grazioso
III. Very fast
IV. Vigoroso
V. With deep feeling
VI. Exuberantly, passionately

Here's a recording of this lovely work for you to enjoy!*

Virginia Eskin

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