La Famille Rameau

Justin Taylor harpsichord & piano
Alpha Classics Alpha 721

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Justin Taylor’s La Famille Forqueray now has a sequel of the highest standard. This programme includes a number of Jean-Philippe’s more popular pieces and music by one of his sons, his younger brother and a nephew. In addition there are two tributes: a set of variations on Les sauvages by J-F Tapray and (pause for fanfare and drumroll) Debussy’s Hommage à Rameau. This is played on a lovely 1891 Erard piano, a worthy complement to the fine double-manual harpsichord attributed to Donzelague used for the bulk of the programme.

Such splendid instruments deserve splendid playing and from the multiple-award-winning Justin Taylor they certainly get it. He is not afraid to go his own way with the ‘standards’ (though I did find his tempo for J-PR’s famous gavotte a little ponderous, even if the variations did not disappoint) and unfamiliar repertoire has been well chosen and thoroughly prepared.

Taylor also wrote the contextualising essay (the booklet is in French, English and German) though I doubt that it was his decision to print his biography as a page all in upper case type! This looks quite bizarre and is actually difficult to read.

But the playing and programme are tremendous. Treat yourself!

David Hansell

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