Composer Claude-Bénigne Balbastre came at the end of the French Baroque keyboard tradition that produced François Couperin and Jean-Philippe Rameau. Composed in 1759, these pieces look back toward the tradition of French harpsichord music, with its individual piece titles designating various members of the French nobility and their individual personalities. Thirty years after Couperin announced the reunification of French and Italian tastes, they show only light influence of Italian style; the clearly diatonic, periodic Allegro tune of "La Laporte," track 16, is the exception. Nor does Balbastre attempt to take after the intellectual density and harmonic complexity of Rameau's keyboard music. Instead his little musical portraits have a mostly pleasant, pastoral mien, with harmonic touches that are unusual and evocative rather than difficult.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection
A sublime collection of wonderful timeless music to treasure.
Upon seeing the `New Age Collection’ tag on the front cover of Rick Wakeman’s `Country Airs’, I expected to find a disc full of faceless digital synths to backing sounds of nature and stormy rainforests. What a pleasure to find not a single cold machine, instead a stunning collection of solo piano pieces.
"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.
This beautifully packaged 4 disc (3CD + DVD) box set comprises of the very best radio and TV performances by Richard and Linda Thompson and Richard Thompson solo recorded for the BBC between January 1974 and 2009. These are the first ever collection of BBC recordings sanctioned by Richard Thompson, the first career retrospective DVD ever released by Richard Thompson and the first ever to feature Linda.
Respighi’s colourful music could have been written with the clear, full-bodied Chandos sound in mind. Following on from where Geoffrey Simon began for the label in the Eighties, Edward Downes is now exploring the more symphonic side of Respighi’s output, showing there is more to him than the Roman trilogy (if not that much, qualitatively). The present disc includes two of his four concertante works for piano and orchestra, the extended Toccata (according to Tozer’s booklet note, the longest such work in existence) and the quirky Slavonic Rhapsody, with its humorous sideswipe at Dvorák. More characteristic of Respighi is the concert overture derived from his opera Belfagor, about the exploits of a Till Eulenspiegel/Don Juan figure, portrayed with suitably colourful sound-painting. All these, together with the Bachian Three Chorales, are played with marvellous verve and commitment – the BBC PO under Downes has a way with this out-of-the-way repertoire that few can equal. The sound quality on this disc is nothing short of stunning.