Monday, 22 May 2017

Rameau - Pieces de clavecin - Frisch

Rating: 5/5

A lovely disc

This is a lovely disc, which I am glad to see reissued.

Rameau's music is extremely enjoyable; the suites presented here are varied and interesting with a fine array of melodic and harmonic invention.  I have always found Rameau to be a very enjoyable listen, and CĂ©line Frisch brings out the best in him.  She is thoughtful or energetic as appropriate and her technique is excellent so that she rises to the technical challenges easily.  The overall sound is wonderful, I think.  Originally recorded by Alpha, the harpsichord is deep and rich in tone and captured beautifully so that it's s thrilling sound throughout.

I have very fine recordings of Rameau by the likes of Christophe Rousset and Angela Hewitt, and this disc by Frisch is their equal in my view – which is really saying something.  As a selection of Rameau's keyboard work, you can't go wrong here and I can recommend it very warmly.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Bach - Trios - Ma, Thile, Meyer

Rating: 3/5

Slightly disappointing

I was expecting to love this disc  It is Bach played in slightly unusual arrangements by three towering virtuosi whose individual recordings of Bach I have enjoyed very much, so it sounded as though I couldn't go wrong.  Sadly, although a brief burst is enjoyable, I find the whole thing rather disappointing.

It goes without saying that this is fantastic music and that Thile, Ma and Meyer are all outstanding musicians.  It's just that the combination of mandolin, cello and double bass doesn't quite work for me I this music; it would be terrific to hear a movement as a concert encore, say, but a whole disc of it gets a bit much.  All three are having a great time with the music which is often a real boost to a performance, but here it spills over into the slightly comic rather than quirkily unusual which manages to make Bach's music sound just a little trivial.

This is all personal feeling, of course, and others may not agree at all.  Certainly it's brilliant playing throughout and it's excellently recorded, but this disc didn't really work for me and I can only give it a very qualified recommendation.