Shortly after the invention of the French pump organ or harmonium in the year 1842, Victor Mustel (1815-1890) further developed and perfected it with a few crucial ideas, construction layouts and inventions. Mustel first called it an “orgue à double-expression”, whereas the terms “harmonium d’artiste” and finally “harmonium d’art” subsequently established themselves. In contrast to the American type of harmonium the French harmonium d’art with an ingeniously designed pneumatic-mechanic installation allows the player the entirely independent regulation of the air pressure, and thus offers him great opportunities in dynamics.
The duet of piano and harmonium d’art was very “hip” in the French bourgeois society of the second half of the 19th century because it brought an “orchestral sound” into their parlours. All the works on this CD present hitherto forgotten compositions such as those that may have been heard in a concert at the French harmonium manufacturer Mustel in Paris at the end of the 19th century.