COMPOSERS: Bach,Couperin,Daquin & Scarlatti,Duphly,Handel,Rameau
LABELS: Chandos Chaconne
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: La Sophie
WORKS: Popular Harpsichord Music of the 18th Century by Bach, Duphly, Couperin, Rameau, Handel, Daquin & Scarlatti
PERFORMER: Sophie Yates (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0598
If this disc fails to ignite your enthusiasm for the harpsichord and its repertoire, then probably nothing else will. Sophie Yates takes us on a pleasurable grand tour of the 18th century hot spots of the harpsichord world. Bach’s Italian Concerto, Handel’s variations, affectionately known as ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith’, Couperin’s Les baricades mistérieuses, Rameau’s La poule, Daquin’s Le coucou and sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti are all here, as well as much else besides.
Yates plays with refinement of taste and with a degree of emotional restraint that pays off well in the Italian Concerto. No empty rhetoric here, and no exaggerated, intrusive virtuosity in the finale, so often the undoing of the impetuous, showy recitalist. Couperin’s delicious Les baricades mistérieuses flows like honey from Mount Olympus, while Rameau’s Cyclops pitch their boulders rhythmically and with deadly accuracy. Perhaps they seem a shade too friendly in this tautly controlled performance, but little matter. The A minor Gavotte and Variations by Rameau come off wonderfully well in a recital which, in case we should forget who is playing, also features Couperin’s evocative character study, La Sophie. Boucher’s sensual portrayal of a reclining nude on the cover is further invitation to become acquainted with the disc. Nicholas Anderson