Marie Kiéné was born on 3 March 1786 at Colmar in Alsace. After marrying M. Bigot, she moved to Vienna in 1804, where she lived for five years. She was highly accomplished at the keyboard and played for Haydn, who exclaimed, "Oh, my dear child, I did not write this music – it is you who have composed it!" He wrote on the sheet from which she played, "On 20 February 1805, Joseph Haydn was happy." She became a friend of Salieri. Her husband being the librarian of Count Razumovsky, she became friendly with Beethoven, who admired her playing. She was the first to play for him, from the autograph, his newly written Appassionata Sonata, impressing him so much that he told her, "That is not exactly the character I wanted to give this piece; but go right on. If it is not wholly mine it is something better." He gave her the autograph of the Appassionata. In 1808, after a misunderstanding over Beethoven's invitation to take Marie and her three-year-old daughter, Caroline, for a drive and her refusal, the famous composer sent an apologetic letter to her and her husband, writing, "It is one of my foremost principles never to occupy any other relations than those of friendship with the wife of another man. I should never want to fill my heart with distrust towards those who may chance some day to share my fate with me, and thus destroy the loveliest and purest life for myself." The Bigots returned to Paris in 1809. Marie composed, gave lessons, and did much to introduce Beethoven's music to Parisian audiences. In 1816 she gave lessons to Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn in Paris. She died on 16 September 1820 in Paris, aged 34.
- Vivace Press
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