Brazilian harpsichordist Bruno Procopio comes highly recommended as a student of Christophe Rousset and Pierre Hantaï. He sets the bar high for this release: the Pièces de clavecin en concerts of 1741 are less often played than other works of Jean-Philippe Rameau because they are, so to speak, neither fish nor fowl. They are plainly influenced by the Italian trio sonata and the new Italian conception of ensemble chamber music in general, but the harpsichord plays a dominant role, and the balance among the instruments is tricky to feel out. The music has an organic feel in this performance, largely due to the strong foundation Procopio provides. He succeeds in keeping the steady tempo and generally even keel that chamber music requires while still putting across the flavor of the characterizations ("L'indiscrète") that are at the center of the language of French Baroque keyboard music. With this foundation, the contributions of the other players, most notably the wooden Baroque flutes of François Lazarevitch, take on the proper quality of elaborating (rather than ornamenting or competing with) the basic material. Only in attempting to produce his own album, a rookie's mistake, does Procopio go wrong; the over-resonant, often harsh sound, recorded at an unidentified location, isn't pleasant to listen to and even interferes with Procopio's carefully crafted balances at times. If you're listening in an environment where sound quality is less important, this release announces a major talent in Baroque keyboard music.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim