Couperin, Rameau [&] de Seixas

Mariko Terashi piano
athene ath 23207

Of the three composers represented here, Carlos de Seixas is by far the least well known. Working in Portugal in the first half of the 18th century, he had the double misfortune firstly to die young at the age of just 38 and secondly to have most of his music and his instruments destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. On the basis of the imaginative and polished sonatas performed here, he is a composer whose reputation is overdue a re-evaluation. Younger than either Couperin or Rameau by some twenty and thirty years respectively, de Seixas was clearly much more open to new keyboard styles, and it is intriguing to think what he might have achieved had his life not been cut short by a fatal attack of rheumatic fever. In addition to four of de Seixas’s Sonatas we have selections from the first and second Livres de Clavecin by Rameau and pieces from various Ordres by Couperin. I have to point out at this stage that Mariko Terashi performs her programme on a modern piano, and that (personally) I like my harpsichord music played on a harpsichord. Even setting that prejudice to one side, I have to say that I find Terashi’s playing a little bland and that her ornaments lack the definition I think is necessary for the music of this period. She also has the annoying mannerism of throwing away final cadences. This is all probably least detrimental in the forward-looking de Seixas pieces, but both the Rameau and the Couperin sound emasculated. I am grateful to this CD for having alerted me to the music of de Seixas, and I must look out for performances on harpsichord.

D. James Ross