Rameau: Keyboard Suites
Suite in E minor
Gigue en Rondeau I
Gigue en Rondeau II
Le Rappel des Oiseaux
Rigaudon I – Rigaudon II et Double
Musette en rondeau
Suite in G minor
Menuet I – Menuet II
Suite in A minor
Les Trois Mains
Gavotte et ses Doubles
Jean-Philippe Rameau topped the summit of the Musical Establishment—named Compositeur du Cabinet du Roi in 1745—yet his pedigree was hardly auspicious. For a time a travelling violinist, he held numerous undistinguished posts as provincial organist (rarely serving out his contract and on one occasion deliberately playing sufficiently badly to ensure his dismissal) before finally settling in Paris at the age of forty.
Something of a theorist—his treatise On the Technique of the Fingers on the Harpsichord makes for essential reading—Rameau’s intellectualism combines in his music to produce passion and tenderness, in his own words ‘true music … the language of the heart’. Some sixty keyboard works are known, gathered by key into five suites; Hewitt here performs three of them. Courtly dances (including the famous Tambourin) sit alongside more programmatic movements (such as Les sauvages—Rameau had just seen two Louisiana Indians performing at the theatre) in these engaging and deceptively catchy miniatures.
Admirers of Angela Hewitt’s acclaimed Bach and Couperin recordings will need no encouragement to sample these new delights.
“This magnificent disc of three of his immensely attractive keyboard suites should help to enlighten us. Angela Hewitt responds to them with a combination of directness and delicacy that is irresistible. Rhythms are vital, rubato is subtle, yet never draws attention to itself, the abundant ornamentation flowers with brilliant naturalness, and her masterly touch persuades you that the piano is the perfect instrument to realise Rameau’s richly coloured music” (The Sunday Times)
“There is a gleam to Angela Hewitt's sound that takes up Rameau's keyboard pieces, perhaps the ultimate harpsichord music, and sells them with considerable noble persuasiveness on the modern piano … Ms Hewitt delights in this music's energy, and her love of its peacock displays of flourish and ornament are nearly irresistible … like her Bach, her Rameau recordings demonstrate a fastidious heeding of the composer’s intent, with meticulous ornamentation and articulation” (The New York Times)
“Her performances have a wonderfully fluid stylishness…and they are founded upon a willingness to use the full tonal resources of a modern concert grand in a way that seems to make utterly irrelevant any question of what is historically or musicologically ‘correct’ in playing this music.” (The Guardian, January 2007)
“…a revelation” (International Record Review)
NEW YORK TIMES CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
DAILY TELEGRAPH CLASSICAL CD OF THE YEAR