"Every soul and spirit were in his harpsichord," dramatist Alexis Piron wrote about his friend Rameau. Listeners of today are often more inclined to prefer his operas. However, there is a wealth of wit, wisdom and joy in Rameau's harpsichord works. This collection of the complete 'Pièces pour clavecin', performed by Bertrand Cuiller with his customary finesse and passion, illuminates all of the beauty and virtuosity of these works. Bertrand Cuiller devotes his recital career to the solo harpsichord repertory, with a particular penchant for the English composers William Byrd and John Bull, whose music he has recorded for Mirare and Alpha.
My first encounter with Rameau came when I was seven years old. The piano was predominant in musical life in the Soviet Union at the time but Johann Sebastian Bach was the only composer to represent the baroque era. Ever-present in concert halls, his compositions were also the daily bread of young pianists in music school. My first teacher had been born in Paris and had a deep knowledge and strong sense of French culture, especially French literature. Thanks to him, I in turn fell in love with France in general and Rameau in particular, and Rameau has stayed with me ever since. I have always kept him in a corner of my mind without ever being able to play his music in public, because unfortunately concert organisers, including in France, then as now prefer composers better known to the general public.
Born in Brescia around 1571, Giovanni Battista Fontana lived in Venice, Rome and Padua, where he died during the plague of 1630. His music surprises by the mastery of counterpoint, the simplicity and the expression of its slow movements, the complexity of its ornamentation and the elegant vivacity of its short dance sections. Nicknamed 'dal Violino' and described as "one of the most singular virtuosos the age has seen". Fontana has left us an outstanding example of early Baroque instrumental music. On this release, Daniel Cuiller leads the ensemble Stradivaria in a selection of sonatas.
Sous forme d'un dialogue vif et parfois provocateur, Le Neveu de Rameau de Denis Diderot met en scène Lui, le neveu du compositeur, et Moi : deux facettes de Diderot, le philosophe qui oeuvre pour les valeurs universelles et intemporelles, et le matérialiste qui pratique le cynisme et le détournement des valeurs. …
Making full use of Drottningholm Theatre's unique 17th century Baroque theatre machinery, as well as his deep creative understanding of the profound drama of the work, stage director Pierre Audi creates a production of Zoroastre that completely accords with the spirit of Rameau. True to the form of the tragédie lyrique, choreographer Amir Hosseinpour's dances perfectly match the weight and meaning of both plot and music. The ensemble, Les Talens Lyriques, reinforced with musicians from the Drottningholm Court Theatre Orchestra and Chorus, is expertly and passionately led into the musical stratosphere by musical director Christophe Rousset. This intensely dramatic production is captured live in vibrant High Definition video and true surround sound.