Classical / Choir Number of Items:


Alexandre Tharaud CD

Versailles (2019)

Format: CD

Code: 190295386429

  1. Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683 – 1764): Prélude from Premier Livre de pièces de clavecin (1706): Suite in A minor
  2. Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683 – 1764): Le Rappel des oiseaux from Pièces de clavecin (1724): Suite in E minor
  3. Robert DE VISÉE (1655 – 1733): Sarabande from Livre de pièces pour la guitare (1686) Suite No.9 in D minor
  4. Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683 – 1764): Tambourin from Pièces de clavessin: Suite in E minor
  5. Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace ROYER (1705-1755): L’Aimable from Premier livre de pièces pour clavecin (1746)
  6. Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683 – 1764): Gavotte et Doubles from Nouvelles Suites de pièces de clavecin (1726–7): Suite in A minor
  7. Jean-Henry D'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691): Sarabande “Dieu des Enfers”  after Jean-Baptiste Lully’s La Naissance de Vénus in Pièces de clavecin
  8. Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace ROYER (1705-1755): La Marche des Scythes from Premier livre de pièces pour clavecin
  9. Jean-Philippe RAMEAU libretto LOUIS FUZELIER: Aria: “Viens, Hymen” (Phani) from Les Indes galantes (Deuxième Entrée, Scène 2)
  10. Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace ROYER (1705-1755): Premier et Deuxième Tambourin from Premier livre de pièces pour clavecin
  11. François COUPERIN (1668 – 1733): Les Ombres errantes from Quatrième Livre de pièces de clavecin (1730): Ordre 25ème de clavecin in E flat
  12. Jacques DUPHLY (1715-1789): Rondeau “La Pothouïn” from Quatrième Livre de pièces de clavecin (1768)
  13. JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU piano transc. 4-hands LÉON ROQUES: Les Sauvages from Nouvelles Suites de pièces de clavecin: Suite in G (excerpt)
  14. Jean-Henry D'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691): Chaconne [from Pièces in C]
  15. Jean-Henry D'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691): Ouverture de Cadmus after Lully’s Cadmus et Hermione, in Pièces de clavecin
  16. François COUPERIN (1668 – 1733): Passacaille from Deuxième Livre de pièces de clavecin (1717): Ordre 8ème de clavecin in B minor
  17. Jean-Henry D'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691): Fugue grave pour orgue in Pièces de clavecin
  18. Jacques DUPHLY (1715-1789): La de Belombre from Troisième Livre de pièces de clavecin (c.1756)
  19. Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632 – 1687) - piano transc. ALEXANDRE THARAUD: Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs from the comédie-ballet Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
  20. Claude BALBASTRE (1724 – 1799): La Suzanne from Premier Livre de pièces de clavecin (1759)
  21. Jean-Henry D'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691): Variations sur Les Folies d’Espagne in Pièces de clavecin


Who but Alexandre Tharaud would follow an album devoted to Beethoven’s formidable final three piano sonatas with a recital of compact pieces by Lully, Rameau, François Couperin and other composers associated with the French court in the 17th and 18th centuries?

“I’ve always been attracted by French music of this period,” explains Tharaud, whose wide-ranging Erato catalogue embraces Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Satie, the music of Jazz Age Paris and the work of French singer-songwriter Barbara. “I see this album as a bouquet of short pieces by different composers of that time. It is a tribute to the composers of Versailles.” They were active during the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI and the youngest of them, Claude Balbastre, died in 1799, 10 years after the outbreak of the French Revolution.

A number of the pieces have not, to the best of Tharaud’s knowledge, previously been recorded on the modern piano – he mentions the music of Balbastre, Jacques Duphly and Pancrace Royer. As he explains, Lully did not write for solo keyboard, but his orchestral Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs from Le bourgeois gentilhomme has been transcribed for piano a number of times. For this album Tharaud has made his own arrangement of the piece, aiming to capture the full richness of its sonorities and to emphasise its dancing nature.

Some of the pieces Tharaud considered for inclusion felt immediately comfortable on the piano keyboard; others sounded cumbersome and thus unsuitable for the album. For instance, the highly ornamented writing of Jean-Henry d’Anglebert (1629-1691) can be tricky on the modern instrument, which has a heavier action and sonority than a 17th century harpsichord. That being said, one of the five works by d’Anglebert that Tharaud selected was originally written for organ (the Fugue grave), and he points out that Rameau sometimes conceived his keyboard music in orchestral terms, going on to arrange certain keyboard pieces for orchestra.

Tharaud launches the programme with a work he describes as “an absolute masterpiece”, the Prelude that opens Rameau’s first book of keyboard pieces. “It’s like being alone at Versailles, opening the doors and entering those huge, imposing rooms. The music starts off with a first section of disarming, contemplative simplicity and then it moves into a clearly defined prelude that Bach could have written. In a sense it sums up the entire programme in just a couple of minutes.”

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