Rameau & Handel
Ensemble Zäis (dir. Benoît Babel) & Paul Goussot (organ)
Parity PARATY714127. 68’20
Handel: Organ Concertos Op7/4, Op4/4, Op4/1;
Rameau: transcription for organ and orchestra from Pièces de clavecin en concerts and Hippolyte et Aricie.
Handel and Rameau are both frustrating composers for organists. Both were very keen organists throughout their life, but Rameau left no organ music, and Handel very little. I have given many organ recitals solely devoted to Handel’s music, but only by drawing on music almost certainly intended for harpsichord. It works well, but I would love to have heard Handel (and Rameau) improvising on the organ. This CD is something of a nod towards that very happening. The unspoken premise of this recording seems to be that Handel and Rameau (born two years apart) meet near the west coast of France (which Handel certainly never ventured even close to) in a church housing one of the largest and most comprehensive French baroque organs ever built – the 1750 Dom Bedos organ of Saint-Croix in Bordeaux. There happens to be an orchestra present. They set about a run-through of some of their pieces, Handel expanding on his Organ Concertos and Rameau transcribing some of his orchestral and harpsichord ensemble works for organ and orchestra. Both improvise at will. Continue reading