Rameau Ballet Suites Review

Released 2005.  

BBC Review

...this youthful ensemble firmly plants its own stamp on these suites by Rameau.

Helenka Bednar 2005

This recording highlights a selection of Rameau's well-loved ballet suites. Previously an established keyboard player and composer, 17th century composer Rameau's foray into the world of opera was well received by an adoring French public, and he became renowned for his ability to produce one brilliant melody line after another.

Plateé's Ouverture begins with a particularly sensitive touch and beautiful dynamic interpretation - the strings echo each other with a real tenderness as their imitations fade to a whisper. But Rameau's penchant for switching moods soon makes an appearance, and with a flurry of strings and harpsichord, the European Union Baroque Orchestra (EUBO) springs to life. The vivacity and humour of this comic opera are conjured up beautifully by the dynamic style of the players, and they bring a real energy to these suites.

The EUBO was formed to give young players the opportunity to fine-tune their Baroque playing style, and this youthful ensemble firmly plants its own stamp on the collection of suites. Their versatile style lends itself wonderfully to the series of short dances that feature in the Pigmalion suite, capturing the sober mood of the Gracieusement and the uplifting spirit of the Tambourin.

When Rameau originally penned Dardanus, it was described as 'a piece so laden with music that for three whole hours, the orchestral players do not even have time to sneeze'. You get this sense with the recording, but the tempo never suffers from being rushed or forced. The steady opening of the Ouverture is faithfully interpreted and during the moments when the players scurry through the Rigaudons and Tambourins, their well-phrased playing gives the dances room to breath. The EUBO are in no danger of playing catch-up with Rameau's racing melody lines - their vivid performance is an arresting tribute to Rameau's vibrant style.

Like This? Try These:
Rameau: Nouvelles Suites (Alexandre Tharaud)
Vivaldi: La Stravaganza (Rachel Podger)
Telemann: Chamber Music (Chandos Baroque Players)

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