Rameau: Pièces pour clavecin

Bertrand Cuiller harpsichord
151′ (2 CDs)
Mirare MIR266
Premier livre (1706), Pièces de Clavessin (1724), Nouvelles Suites (1726-27), extracts from “Pièces de clavecin en concerts

I must say I find quite extraordinary the note’s suggestion that Rameau’s solo harpsichord pieces are ‘somewhat neglected’, especially after this last year. Be that as it may, Bertrand Cuiller here sets about rectifying any such neglect with a will and no little vigour. He’s also not afraid to go out on a bit of an interpretative limb, though from time in the slighter and slower pieces I did feel that the flexible pulse was losing touch with its base and the famous Gavotte is anything but dance-like, though the ensuing variations build to a rousing climax. Overall the greatest strength is that every track does sound like a performance with a touch of spontaneity even if this is at the expense of the occasional minor imperfection. The resources of the (modern) instrument are sensibly deployed and its sound is very well captured. The tuner/technician might have done a better job however. Some tuning ‘moments’ are not the temperament and not every note always damps cleanly. So Christophe Rousset remains the king of this repertoire, though this release is certainly worthy of a place on the same shelf. Whoever typed and/or passed as fit for publication the track list in the booklet should be sacked.

David Hansell