Nicholas Kenyon 

Rameau: Symphonies for two harpsichords – review

Two harpsichords are better than one in this dazzling disc of Rameau's dramatic works, writes Nicholas Kenyon

Those who dislike the sound of the harpsichord will hate even more the noise of two, and it shouldn't really work to reduce Rameau's richly orchestrated dances to a pair of keyboards. Yet Hantaï and Sempé are so vivacious in their rhythms and so freewheeling in their improvisatory style, often filling in Rameau's outline with dazzling decoration, that this disc is huge fun. Some effects, like the chipping of the sculptor's hammer in Pygmalion, gain in force, while the relaxed Sarabandes are eloquent and the two great Chaconnes from Dardanus and Les indes galantes achieve real nobility.


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