Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Complete Works for Harpsichord
Suite in A minor (1706)* [22:01]
Suite in E minor (1724)+ [19:57]
Suite in D minor/Major (1724)^ [29:57]
Suite in A minor (1728)+ [31:33]
Suite in G Major/minor (1728)^ [22:17]
Solo Pieces from Pieces en Concert (1741)* [18:09]
La Dauphine (1747)* [ 3:12]
Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord)
*rec. Church of St. Botolph, Swyncombe, and Oxfordshire, England.
+rec. Duns Tew, Oxfordshire, England.
^rec. Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Upper Hardres, Kent, England.
CRD 35112 [148:51]

This recording is not only the fifth recording on CD of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s harpsichord music but back in the early 1980’s its LP incarnation also marked my first introduction to this wonderful music, and I had forgotten just how good this recording is.

Not only does it offer all the suites of harpsichord music, it also offers the solo pieces from the Pieces de Clavecin en Concert, of my other recordings only Gilbert Rowland on Naxos (8.553047, 8.553048) offers such a complete survey, Christophe Rousset’s excellent set for Decca (425 886-2) misses these pieces out, although they are available on his recording of the full chamber version of the Pieces de Clavecin en Concert for Harmonia Mundi, whilst Pieter-Jan Belder also misses them out for his survey for Brilliant Classics (95250) and this despite the set containing the chamber version too. The other set is by Blandine Rannou for Alpha (ALPHA 309), but I would find this difficult to recommend as not only does it miss out the 1706 suite and the solo pieces, but it is so slow.

The playing of Trevor Pinnock is well measured and assured throughout. He is an ideal exponent of the gallant style of French harpsichord playing and his virtuosity shines through. Whilst I enjoy Rowland’s performance, Pinnock has that added edge and excitement. This is equalled by the three well tuned and recorded instruments. Yes I prefer the sound of Rousset’s harpsichord, and to some respect his playing too, but this for me is the finest recording of the complete harpsichord pieces.

The wonderful booklet notes by Nicholas Anderson have been transferred from the original LP release, and in many ways they were a model in their day, as not only do they give a background to the music but also a brief description of each piece, although Trevor Pinnock might be a little embarrassed by the mid-1970’s photograph of himself.

Stuart Sillitoe

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