The only keyboard work of Rameau I knew was Pièces de clavecin en concerts, so this was a delightful discovery. Anybody who enjoys baroque harpsichord music will find much to enjoy in this 3cd set, covering the 3 collections of 1704,1724 & 1726 and also Pièces de clavecin en concerts. I find Pieter Jan Belders playing light fingered and musical. At this givaway price don't hesitate.
I've been living with this excellent set for a couple of years now and I turn to it more and more often. Pieter-Jan Belder plays in a sweetly extrovert style which makes the best case possible for this music. He is not afraid to vary tempo; and what his technique lacks in gloss it more than makes up for in emotional engagement. The close-miked recording pushes the instrument into the room. The joys of this combined musical and technical approach are best experienced in the first disk of concertos. Here the luscious sonorities of the cello and the passionate coupling of the ensemble, stretch and scrunch the tempi in warm embrace. In the solo pieces, some may prefer the more introvert and intense approach of Scott Ross or the coolness of Michael Kiener. But since Scott Ross is currently unavailable, and Michael Kiener hardly so, Belder's generous playing is a great choice at an equally generous price.
It is amazing that Brilliant Classics are selling this 3CD set of all Rameau's solo harpsichord music AND the Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts for under £9. The performances are very good indeed and the harpsichord has a sweet sound (though it is unidentified). I have been impressed by Pieter-Jan Belder in other recordings, notably Bach and Soler - all on Brilliant Classics and all as cheap as chips! Even the performance of the tricky Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts is really good, with an appreciation of the subtle rhetoric needed to bring off these wonderful pieces. These trios are arguably the pinnacle of French baroque chamber music and you have to go all the way forward to Debussy's sonatas until you find French sonatas of such importance. I still, however, have a particular affection for Kenneth Gilbert's set of the solo harpsichord works (recorded on three different original instruments). My favourite in the trios is Catherine Mackintosh, Laurence Dreyfus and Ketil Haugsand on Simax as they are even more confident and bold in their understanding of baroque French rhetoric.
Jean Philippe Rameau was,alongside Francois Couperin,the finest composer of harpsichord music to emerge from the French Baroque.His first collection was published in 1706 and displays a youthful mind that only hints at the genius he would become.The 1724 and c1727 collections are sublime works and exhibit a slightly more Italian influence although they are still essentially French in nature with tasteful ornamentation.
Pieter Jan Belder once again demonstrates his uncanny ability to play Baroque music in a fluid and attractive manner,with tempo's that seem to fit the music very well and he always serves the composer first and foremost. I have yet to hear a recording by him that i did not like and although there are countless harpsichordists now recording,Belder for me,is one of the finest in the world.
At bargain price this new interpretation of Rameau's harpsichord music is a mandatory purchase and a very worthy successor to Christophe Rousset's 1989 decca recording which,although still good,i feel Belder has now surpassed.
N.B New notes added 3/11/2014 .My top recommendation for Rameau's harpsichord works is now by Michel Kiener.
I have always loved the harpsichord as an instrument and there isn't much good music for this instrument written today, as a matter of fact none at all. Rameau's music is a reminder of the golden age of this instrument and when I compare it to the modern music, the modern music is a loser.
Pieter-Jan Belder has rendered us all a service, with his interpretation of theses peerless works. We shall wait indefinitely, if ever, for a composition for Harpsichord to match Rameau's exquisite work.
Belder's playing is expressive, thoughtful, full of warmth and colour, without any harshness. Jan-Peiter's fingers glide on the keyboard, illuminating each note so brightly for our pleasure.
The musicianship of both the composer and harpsichordist are a peerless match. This is glorious music of the highest order. No one's library can be complete, unless Rameau holds pride of place. Buy it and Enjoy!