Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683 – 1764) was born in Dijon two years before the births of Bach, Scarlatti and Handel. He is probably best known for his operas, but also wrote chamber music and over 60 works for harpsichord. These keyboard compositions, which he wrote between 1706 and 1728 and spread over three volumes, differ greatly from the style of his contemporaries. Rameau’s intellectualism and technical brilliance of composition, allied with passion and tenderness combine, in his words, to produce ‘true music… the language of the heart’. This disc features pieces from three of the four suites Rameau wrote for the harpsichord. I have selected these to illustrate Rameau’s extraordinary talent in descriptive, innovative and often virtuosic writing, and to show how the piano can enhance the works through singing tone and tonal nuance. Virginia Black
Virginia made her concert debut at the age of 17, playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. After studying piano and harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music, she made her debut as a solo recitalist at Wigmore Hall, London and has given numerous performances on the Southbank and worldwide. In addition to pursuing a busy international concert schedule, she has made recordings for radio and television around the world and, in England, has been featured as ‘Artist of the Week’ on BBC Radio 3. Her library of CD recordings has been recognised through Editor’s choice in Gramophone and Critic’s Choice in Classic CD. Virginia has meanwhile continued her work in music education, both as Professor of Harpsichord at the Royal Academy of Music in London and through giving masterclasses and recitals at conservatoires, universities and colleges worldwide.