Hyperion Records

Suite in A minor
composer
Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin, circa 1729/30

Recordings
'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 18 on CDA67597 [5'04]
Track 18 on SACDA67597 [5'04] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 2: Courante
Track 19 on CDA67597 [3'57]
Track 19 on SACDA67597 [3'57] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 3: Sarabande
Track 20 on CDA67597 [2'19]
Track 20 on SACDA67597 [2'19] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 4: Les trois mains
Track 21 on CDA67597 [5'10]
Track 21 on SACDA67597 [5'10] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 5: Fanfarinette
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 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 in A minor
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
For the Suite in A minor, Rameau uses the traditional opening dances of Allemande, Courante and Sarabande, but there is nothing standard about his treatment of them. Right from the start, he sets a tone of noble grandeur, only briefly relieved at the end of each section of the Allemande where a toccata-like figure is introduced for a few bars. The writing is much more contrapuntal than in the earlier E minor Suite, the interpretation far more challenging. I think Girdlestone is right to devote so much attention to the Courante, which he calls ‘one of the summits of Rameau’s art’. It is one of his most difficult pieces to comprehend and to play, not just because of its rich counterpoint and rhythmic complexities (the jeu inégal must be used judiciously and with freedom but within a strict frame), but because the execution of the ornaments also requires tremendous skill. Even after you have figured all that out, you still have to make music. As Girdlestone says: ‘The door has to be knocked on more than once before it will open, but of the riches within there is no doubt and the effort is worthwhile.’ The solemn Sarabande is also richly ornamented, with swirling, written-out arpeggios that heighten the tension. It was reused more than twenty years later in his lyric tragedy Zoroastre.

In the next piece, Les trois mains, Rameau gives the illusion of there being three hands by having the left one constantly cross over the right, providing at the beginning a criss-cross accompaniment to the tender melody; the music becomes more sprightly later on, foreshadowing Scarlatti. Next come two contrasting character pieces: the first, Fanfarinette (a female nickname), must depict someone of great charm—carefree and flirtatious. The second, La triomphante, is exactly that.

The final Gavotte with its six variations closes this suite in a magnificent fashion. The theme, contrary to expectation, is not fast (Rameau tells us so in his preface), but the variations build in momentum to a virtuoso conclusion. Running scales in both hands are then taken up by the middle voice in more complicated figurations. The fourth double reminds me of Variation 23 in Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’ which weren’t written for another fourteen years. The hands stab at each other, at first in single notes, but then in thirds and chords, often in the same register on the keyboard (made more difficult on the piano where there is only one, not two). The last two variations show off each hand in turn and demand great stamina and brilliance. While the left hand leaps with joy, the right displays the theme in all its glory.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2007

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for SACDA67597 track 24
Movement 7a: Gavotte
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-06-59724
Duration
1'41
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 24
    Release date: January 2007
  2. Rameau: Keyboard Suites (SACDA67597)
    Disc 1 Track 24
    Release date: January 2007
    Deletion date: November 2008
    Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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