Hyperion’s Record of the Month for January takes multi-award-winning Baroque legend Angela Hewitt to the elegantly refined French court of the early eighteenth century.
Jean-Philippe Rameau topped the summit of the Musical Establishment—named Compositeur du Cabinet du Roi in 1745—yet his pedigree was hardly auspicious. For a time a travelling violinist, he held numerous undistinguished posts as provincial organist (rarely serving out his contract and on one occasion deliberately playing sufficiently badly to ensure his dismissal) before finally settling in Paris at the age of forty.
Something of a theorist—his treatise On the Technique of the Fingers on the Harpsichord makes for essential reading—Rameau’s intellectualism combines in his music to produce passion and tenderness, in his own words ‘true music … the language of the heart’. Some sixty keyboard works are known, gathered by key into five suites; Hewitt here performs three of them. Courtly dances (including the famous Tambourin) sit alongside more programmatic movements (such as Les sauvages—Rameau had just seen two Louisiana Indians performing at the theatre) in these engaging and deceptively catchy miniatures.
Admirers of Angela Hewitt’s acclaimed Bach and Couperin recordings will need no encouragement to sample these new delights.
Angela Hewitt was named Artist of the Year at the Gramophone Awards 2006, capping a year of unparalleled success and recognition.
DAILY TELEGRAPH CLASSICAL CD OF THE YEAR