Pieter-Jan Belder has made over 100 recordings, including the complete Telemann Tafelmusik for Brilliant Classics, and this set is part of his project to record all of Rameau’s keyboard music. On this 3CD set are Rameau’s great sets of pieces for keyboard – Pièces de Clavecin en Concerts of 1741, the Pièces de Clavecin of 1705 and 1724, and the Nouvelle Suites de Pièces de Clavecin of 1726. In the centuries that have passed since his death in 1764, he has been consistently praised by composers such as Debussy (‘A composer I cannot recommend strongly enough is Rameau’ he wrote in 1903), Hindemith, Tartini, D’Indy, and Gluck – what a variety! All wrote of their indebtedness to him, and acknowledged his influence.
By virtue of their diverse styles and extraordinary technical demands, Ravel's solo piano works present a daunting challenge to anyone who would record them as a complete set. From the sublime Pavane pour une infante défunte and the crystalline Sonatine, to the dazzling impressionism of Miroirs and the nightmarish intricacies of Gaspard de la nuit, Ravel's keyboard music reflects all aspects of his spontaneous imagination and his involved artistic development. Few performers have completely mastered this complex body of work and recorded it superbly, but versatile Canadian pianist Louis Lortie is in that select company. His 1988 performances have been esteemed for their consistency, sensitivity, and compelling energy, and this reissue from Chandos is likely to garner even more praise for Lortie. Previously available in two volumes, this double disc is newly remastered, and Lortie sounds better than ever, particularly in such exquisite works as Le tombeau de Couperin and Valses nobles et sentimentales. Lortie's careful shading of subordinate lines and subtle use of dynamics in his coloristic effects invite repeated listening. Best of all, he captures Ravel's dry wit and irony with his mannered shaping of gestures, most effectively in Le tombeau, the Sérénade grotesque, and the Menuet antique.