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In her complete recording of the solo and accompanied harpsichord pieces of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Blandine Rannou invited us to ‘change dimensions, accept – decide – that a silence between two notes, a slight time-lag between two voices . . . can be genuine events, striking, powerful, raucous, overwhelming or sensual’.
With Johann Sebastian Bach, in the French, then the English Suites, Blandine Rannou helped us to understand the vocabulary: dance, rhythm, phrasing, articulation – ‘. . . this melody, bearing emotion and itself borne by dance, forms its own hierarchy, like language . . . we must set up balances of power, or at least of influence, between the notes, rhetorical connections, work on articulation . . .’
For François Couperin, Blandine Rannou ‘re-orders’ the ordres, grouping after each of the eight preludes of L’Art de toucher le clavecin a selection of pieces drawn from all four books.
This decision is animated by the wish to present us with ‘the pieces that seemed most suited to reflecting this imaginary sound world – echoes of Lullian opera, of the lute, of instrumental or vocal works by François Couperin himself, such as Les Nations or the Leçons de Ténèbres, that repertoire whose role we acknowledge as being to touch our hearts.’
Following in Couperin’s footsteps, Blandine Rannou is concerned to show us how moving the harpsichord can be, and to go beyond the cliché of a harpsichord that is essentially refined and decorative.
Thus Couperin draws us into the mystery of Les Ombres errantes, La Lugubre, La Ténébreuse, L’Audacieuse – or the famous Baricades mistérieuses.