Angela Hewitt

Rameau: Keyboard Suites

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Rameau on the piano? It's not altogether unheard of -- there were a handful of classic recordings made by Robert Casadesus back in 1952 -- but, despite many recordings of Bach, Handel, and Scarlatti on the piano in the digital age, there's been precious little Rameau on the piano until this Angela Hewitt recording of three complete suites from 2006. By choosing the Suite in E minor from the Pièces de clavecin of 1731 plus the Suites in G minor and A minor from Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin, Hewitt has for the most part stayed away from the more evocatively titled works and stuck to the standard stylized Baroque dance forms of the allemande, courante, and gigue. Justly celebrated for her cool and clean Bach recordings, this strategy works well for Hewitt. Without seeming to resort to the sustain or the mute pedal, she floats Rameau's lines and melodies, and without seeming to exaggerate the accents or dynamics, she gives Rameau's rhythms a wonderful sense of lift. In the deliberately evocative movements from the G minor Suite -- "La poule," "Les sauvages," and especially "L'egiptienne" -- Hewitt seems to bring less to the music -- her interpretations are remarkably straight -- and to get less out of it -- her performances are remarkably bland. Still, as an alternative to Rameau on the harpsichord, Rameau on the piano works well enough to merit an occasional listening, and Hewitt's will more than likely remain the Rameau on the piano of choice for years to come. Hyperion's sound is warm, round, full, and deep.

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