A midprice reissue collecting this young French pianist s three baroque recordings. I fell in love with Tharaud s Rameau disc several years ago and never once missed the rattling sound of the harpsichord. Tharaud points out that Rameau s frequent ornamentation would have served to prolong notes on a harpsichord. This isn t necessary on a modern piano, and there s an incredible delicacy to the pianism here, with the trills and turns played with a barely credible lightness of touch. It s infectious stuff, with the witty character pieces from the Suite in G vivid and alive.
The biggest surprise on this wonderfully exuberant and exhilarating disc comes with the very first notes: the piano tone is rich and full, worlds away from the slightly distant, musical-box tone that is often thought appropriate for recordings of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas on a modern concert grand. But as the soundworld suggests, Tharaud is totally unapologetic about playing these pieces – all originally composed for harpsichord even though the earliest fortepianos were in circulation in Scarlatti's time – on a piano. In the sleevenotes, Tharaud says that of the four baroque keyboard composers that he has recorded so far – Bach, Couperin, Rameau and now Scarlatti – it's the last whose music is most suited to this treatment. His selection of sonatas is chosen for maximum variety, with a group in which the Spanish inflections of flamenco and folk music can be heard, others in which he gets a chance to show some dazzling technique, alongside those in which the playfulness is replaced by profound introspection.
Pygmalion is, perhaps, Rameau's most consistently alluring ac/c de ballet whose overture, at least, was greatly admired in the composer's lifetime. There have been three earlier commercial recordings of which only the most recent, on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, is currently available. Pygmalion was Rameau's second ac/c de ballet and it contains affecting and vigorous music in the composer's richest vein. The action takes place in Pygmalion's studio. Captivated by the appearance of the statue he has just completed, Pygmalion, legendary King of Cyprus, falls in love with it.
On October 22nd, French Pianist Alexandre Tharaud will release Swinging Paris Le Boeuf Sur le Toit, a new album of jazz music inspired by the legendary 1920s Parisian cabaret. The album features a kaleidoscopic selection of music from composers ranging from Ravel to Gershwin to W.C. Handy, and includes a diverse group of guest artists including Natalie Dessay, Madeleine Peyroux and more. This new release caps a busy year for Alexandre - he starred in Michael Haneke s film Amour, which took the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival (Tharaud also provided the soundtrack to the album, which will be released on Virgin Classics in January of 2013), and was also featured on the smash hit Fifty Shades of Grey The Classical Album.
French pianist Alexandre Tharaud is known for programs that hold together only marginally, and so it is here: Mozart's French piano student who went by the name of Mademoiselle Jeunehomme (or Jenamy or Jénomé) is associated with only one of these works, and possibly not even with that one: she is said to have given the premiere of the sprawling Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat major, K. 271, but the work has all the hallmarks of music Mozart wrote for himself.
Combining works by Debussy and Poulenc on an album may, to some, seem a bit ironic seeing as at one point, the latter railed against the music of the former. Poulenc was later to change his tune, though, and eventually became one of Debussy's most ardent admirers. The two were greatly responsible for a new direction in French music, which, ironically, required both of them to look to composers of the past for inspiration.
Applaudi dans le monde entier, célébré par le grand public comme les spécialistes, Alexandre Tharaud est un enfant chéri du piano français. C’est à travers sa discographie qu’il s’est révélé et qu’il a défini sa figure d’artiste unique : une trentaine d’enregistrements, singulièrement variés et imaginatifs. Car aux côtés de ses nombreux disques consacrés à Chopin, Bach et Schubert, d’autres reposent sur des choix plus inattendus : interpréter Rameau au piano, défendre le trop discret Chabrier, replacer Satie à la hauteur qui est la sienne, ressusciter le fameux Boeuf sur le toit. …