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Rameau / Karttunen
Release Date: 07/13/2010 
Label:  Alba Records   Catalog #: 290   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jean-Philippe RameauJean-Henri D'Anglebert
Performer:  Assi Karttunen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

RAMEAU Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin. D’ANGLEBERT Chaconne de Phaeton Assi Karttunen (hpd) ALBA 290 (69:51)

Assi Karttunen is a new name to me. She took postgraduate studies with Lars Ulrik Mortensen, and master classes with Pierre Hantaï. Karttunen has since played with several ensembles, notably the Sixth Floor Orchestra and Vox Artis, as well as providing solo recordings for Classic FM’s Read more style="font-style:italic">Masterclass program. This is her first solo album released to the general public, however.

It stacks up well. She’s a fluent technician, capable of bringing clarity, logic, and, where warranted, drama to these works. Karttunen is accurate in her application of notes inégales , reasonably flexible in her pacing (especially in slower pieces), and up to date in the use of ornamentation. I did think the popular Doubles de la Gavotte of the Suite in A Minor began a bit fast to build proper momentum over the long haul, but it was my only concern. Les Triolets receives one of its most sensitive treatments on record, the ornaments blossoming from its progress like delicate vines, while the enharmonic moments of L’Enharmonique receive a prominence they usually lack, without undue underscoring.

She’s also insightful in the matter of silence. Some harpsichordists, like Nature, abhor a vacuum, and feel it necessary to end every phrase with the start of another, or to erase every theatrical pause at half cadence. Not so Karttunen. The second of the two minuets in the Suite in G Major/Minor (unusually but attractively taken at a slower tempo than the first) provides examples of this willingness to use brief instances of silence to advantage, as does L’Indifférente.

My first recommendation in this music remains Blandine Rannou on Zig-Zag ZZT010301; that gets you an engaging version of the Pièces de clavecin en concerts as well as the complete harpsichord works. Among incomplete suite compilations, though, this release is competitive. I place it on par with Gilbert Rowland (Naxos 8.553047) and Sophie Yates (Chandos 0659 and 0708, separately purchasable), and slightly ahead of Christophe Rousset (L’Oiseau-Lyre 425886, occasionally inclined to rush tempos). That’s saying a lot. I hope we’ll hear more from Karttunen in the future, and hope as well that it will be in less-frequented paths of French Baroque keyboard music.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

Pièces de clavecin: no 18, L'entretien des Muses by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Assi Karttunen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1724/1731; France 
Date of Recording: 2009 
Venue:  Östersundom Church, Sipoo, Finland 
Length: 6 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Assi Karttunen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1730; France 
Date of Recording: 2009 
Venue:  Östersundom Church, Sipoo, Finland 
Length: 45 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Pièces de clavecin: Suite no 1 in G major - Chaconne after Lully's Phaeton by Jean-Henri D'Anglebert
Performer:  Assi Karttunen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 2009 
Venue:  Östersundom Church, Sipoo, Finland 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 

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