Hyperion Records

Suite No 2 in A minor
composer
Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin, circa 1729/30

Recordings
'Rameau: Pièces de clavecin' (CDA68071/2)
Rameau: Pièces de clavecin
CDA68071/2  2CDs 3 November 2014 Release  
'Rameau: Keyboard Suites' (CDA67597)
Rameau: Keyboard Suites
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67597 
'Rameau: Keyboard Suites' (SACDA67597)
Rameau: Keyboard Suites
SACDA67597  Super-Audio CD — Deleted  
Details
Movement 1: Allemande
Track 1 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [6'37] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Track 18 on CDA67597 [5'04]
Track 18 on SACDA67597 [5'04] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 2: Courante
Track 2 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [3'51] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Track 19 on CDA67597 [3'57]
Track 19 on SACDA67597 [3'57] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 3: Sarabande
Track 3 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [2'40] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Track 20 on CDA67597 [2'19]
Track 20 on SACDA67597 [2'19] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 4: Les trois mains
Track 4 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [4'38] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Track 21 on CDA67597 [5'10]
Track 21 on SACDA67597 [5'10] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 5: Fanfarinette
Track 5 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [2'37] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Track 22 on CDA67597 [2'52]
Track 22 on SACDA67597 [2'52] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 6: La triomphante
Track 23 on CDA67597 [1'30]
Track 23 on SACDA67597 [1'30] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 6: Le triomphante
Track 6 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [1'28] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Movement 7: Gavotte
Track 7 on CDA68071/2 CD2 [7'26] 2CDs 3 November 2014 Release
Movement 7a: Gavotte
Track 24 on CDA67597 [1'41]
Track 24 on SACDA67597 [1'41] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7b: Double 1
Track 25 on CDA67597 [0'58]
Track 25 on SACDA67597 [0'58] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7c: Double 2
Track 26 on CDA67597 [0'58]
Track 26 on SACDA67597 [0'58] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7d: Double 3
Track 27 on CDA67597 [0'58]
Track 27 on SACDA67597 [0'58] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7e: Double 4
Track 28 on CDA67597 [0'52]
Track 28 on SACDA67597 [0'52] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7f: Double 5
Track 29 on CDA67597 [0'51]
Track 29 on SACDA67597 [0'51] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 7g: Double 6
Track 30 on CDA67597 [1'00]
Track 30 on SACDA67597 [1'00] Super-Audio CD — Deleted

Suite No 2 in A minor
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Rameau’s third and final collection of harpsichord music—the Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin of c1729–30—in many ways represents the pinnacle of the ‘international style’ as applied to the art of the French clavecinistes. There is as much Handel and Scarlatti here as there is Couperin and Marchand. One almost gets the sense that Rameau has tired of claveciniste convention and is beginning to see the harpsichord as a substitute for the orchestra in a way that must have shocked his contemporaries.

Like the 1724 volume, this collection also contains two suites. The Suite in A minor opens with a stirring Allemande, a tribute to the good old style. But even here one can hear that special Ramellian wink in the chains of thirds and sixths in the accompanying voices. Once engaged in such flowery discourse Rameau cannot help himself, and he even adds codas with chains of triplets to the cadences in each half. The overall effect is one of noble vocality with a slight tinge of resignation. The quality of grandeur is further underlined in the Courante, in which the running quavers juxtaposed with the sharp rhythms and accents of the original dance surely mean to evoke a blend of French orchestral practice and the art of Italian violin-playing.

The graceful movements of the Sarabande show Rameau as the king of the dance, as he skilfully portrays the elaborate gestures of the dancer with specific indications for the arpeggiation and decoration of chords. It is as if the harpsichordist’s fingers themselves become dancers, maintaining the grand gestures of the feet in balance with the fanciful movements of the dancer’s hands, as was the practice in performing sarabandes. Les trois mains is a bit of a mystery. Is it simply a cheeky depiction of three greatly independent parts on the keyboard? Or can we detect the influence of Domenico Scarlatti, who had visited Paris in 1724? Then there is the term ‘three hands’ used in dancing, specifically in the Scottish strathspey ‘Nora’s Fandango’.

Fanfarinette and La triomphante illustrate Rameau’s mastery of the pièce de caractère. The first is a depiction of someone who feigns bravery (the term is derived from ‘fanfaron’—a braggart); perhaps we can hear this in the fanciful quality of the melody and the runs in the right hand. The second piece is a general evocation of triumph rather than a reference to a specific person; the last couplet has a hint of Rameau the curmudgeon. The A minor Suite closes with the justifiably famous Gavotte with six ‘doubles’, or variations, which has become a warhorse of many a recital programme. The solid, chorale-variation flavour to this piece makes sense when we hear it through the lens of Handel’s eight ‘great’ suites of 1720, a hugely popular collection that appears in bits and pieces in Continental sources and which was certainly known to Rameau. Rameau’s variations are directly based, in fact, on the air and variations from Handel’s D minor Suite. And Handel’s variations are, in turn, elaborations on models by Pachelbel and Zachow. Rameau seems to have been blissfully ignorant of the Germanic and ecclesiastical basis of such a variation style, and in the final three variations he takes a completely different and frankly virtuosic path.

from notes by Mahan Esfahani © 2014

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for SACDA67597 track 21
Movement 4: Les trois mains
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-06-59721
Duration
5'10
Recording date
4 June 2006
Recording venue
Das Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, Dobbiaco, Italy
Recording producer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Recording engineer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Hyperion usage
  1. Rameau: Keyboard Suites (CDA67597)
    Disc 1 Track 21
    Release date: January 2007
  2. Rameau: Keyboard Suites (SACDA67597)
    Disc 1 Track 21
    Release date: January 2007
    Deletion date: November 2008
    Super-Audio CD — Deleted
   English   Français   Deutsch