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Jean-Philippe Rameau: The Complete Keyboard Music, Vol. 3 / Gutman

Rameau / Gutman
Release Date: 02/25/2014 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: 52   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



RAMEAU Suites: No. 4 in A/a; No. 5 in G/g. La Dauphine. Les petits marteaux. RAMEAU-GUTMAN Pièces de clavecin en concerts: Concert No. 5 in D/d. RAMEAU-BALBASTRE Pigmalion: Giga Stephen Gutman (pn) TOCCATA 0052 (68:48)


I am always overjoyed to hear a new recording of Rameau’s Read more keyboard music performed on the piano; it is a repertoire which I find completely underappreciated by most pianists today who favor the works of either Bach or Scarlatti for their recital programs. For whatever the inexplicable reasons, it is both their loss in playing this repertoire and ours in hearing it performed on an instrument capable of such tonal nuances as benefits this music. That said: This is the third and last of Stephen Gutman’s recordings of the complete keyboard music of this master, but only the first that I’ve heard. After playing this disc over and over again this month, I’ll be sure to run—not walk!—to my nearest shop to obtain the first two releases which I’ve missed out on thus far.


Luckily for me, Gutman here performs two of Rameau’s greatest keyboard suites—the one in A-Minor/Major, which ends with the virtuosic Gavotte with six variations (or doubles as he labels them), most likely modeled on the “Air and Variations” from Handel’s D-Minor Suite, and the one in G Major/Minor, which includes some of the most famous of Rameau’s excerpted pieces—“La poule,” “Les sauvages,” “L’enharmonique,” and “L’egiptienne,” among others. From the very first notes of the opening A-Minor Allemande, the pianist’s sense of exploration, his wide tonal palette, and his rhythmic freedom can all be heard to good advantage, along with his intimate and scholarly knowledge of these works—from correct ornamentation to matters of tempo. Importantly, the pianist looks to characterize each of these movements in their own particular way, and does so well—from the serious Courante to the intimate Sarabande, from the athletic and virtuosic “Les trois mains” to the exuberant and joyful “La triomphant.” Perhaps the only aspect I miss a bit comes in the concluding Gavotte, where just a bit more bombast could surely do no harm; here the minute characterization of each variation takes away from the inherent drive to the end which should pervade the entire set. As the following Suite in G is comprised of mostly named movements— à la Couperin—it benefits even more so from Gutman’s quick and profound characterization: “La poule,” being one of the best examples, demonstrates just how quickly he can portray these musical numbers. From the opening repeated-note gesture one is pulled in, only to be startled by the quick flourishes which drive the music forward. The ornaments found throughout the piece are hardly simple trills or mordents—rather, they are sounds of the hen herself. Though “Les sauvages” could be a bit more brutal in character, the pianist’s tendency to emphasize the gallant and graceful aspects in the music is in keeping with the age. “L’egiptienne” makes for a mysterious, yet rousing, conclusion.


The other works here include two transcriptions—one made by Gutman of the Concert No. 5 from the Pièces de clavecin en concerts , which includes three movements (“La Forqueray,” “La Cupis,” and “La Marais”) and the Giga from Pigmalion , possibly transcribed by one Claude-Bénigne Balbastre. Of the two works, the former is the more impressive piece, originally conceived, as is was, for a chamber ensemble of strings and keyboard; the opening work, “La Forqueray,” is actually a four-part fugue, which Gutman carefully choreographs for performance on a single keyboard—no small feat! While there are, of course, interesting little details left out, Gutman is careful to capture the most important aspects of the piece, in both transcription and performance.


Throughout this very fine recital Gutman proves himself a guide of the first order—not only does he understand this music both inside and out, he never allows the scholar in him to inhibit the performer; rather he uses the knowledge to bring out the best in this music. And while I may have my quibbles about matters of performance, there is hardly a movement in the entire recital that will not charm and delight the most judgmental of listeners. Recorded in generally good, though somewhat dry, sound and accompanied by excellent program notes (both by Graham Sadler and the pianist himself), this is a release to savor. Recommended.


FANFARE: Scott Noriega
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pièces de clavecin en concerts: 5th Concert by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1741; France 
2.
Pièces de clavecin: no 5, Gigue en rondeau II in E major by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724/1731; France 
3.
Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin: no 5, Fanfarinette in A major by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1730; France 
4.
Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin: no 4, Les trois mains by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1730; France 
5.
Les petits marteaux by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1754; France 
6.
La Dauphine by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747; France 
7.
Pygmalion: Gigue by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Stephen Gutman (Piano)
Period: Baroque  
Written: France 

Sound Samples

Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: I. Allemande
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: II. Courante
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: III. Sarabande
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: IV. Les trois mains
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: V. Fanfarinette
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: VI. La triomphante
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: VII. Gavotte with 6 double
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: VIII. Premier double de la Gavotte
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: IX. Deuxieme double
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: X. Troisieme double
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: XI. Quatrieme double
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: XII. Cinquieme
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in A Minor - Major: XIII. Sixieme double
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: I. Les tricotets
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: II. L'indifferente
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: III. Minuet I
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: IV. Minuet II
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: V. La poule
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: VI. Les triolets
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: VII. Les sauvages
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: VIII. L'enharmonique
Nouvelles suites de Pieces de clavecin: Suite in G Major - Minor: IX. L'egiptienne
Pieces de clavecin en concerts: Concert No. 5 in D Minor (arr. S. Gutman for piano): I. La forqueray
Pieces de clavecin en concerts: Concert No. 5 in D Minor (arr. S. Gutman for piano): II. La Cupis
Pieces de clavecin en concerts: Concert No. 5 in D Minor (arr. S. Gutman for piano): III. La marais
La Dauphine
Les petits marteaux
Pigmalion (Pygmalion) (arr. C. Balbastre for piano): Pigmalion (Pygmalion): Giga (arr. C. Balbastre for piano)

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