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Having enthusiastically reviewed Christophe Rousset's splendid Rameau recording (EM, Aug 1992), it was a pleasure to receive soon afterwards his Bach recordings listed above. I have no doubt that Rousset, now 31, is one of the finest harpsichordists of his generation. He brings much freshness and insight to these familiar Bach works, and if the performances are ultimately less overwhelmingly satisfying than his Rameau, it is a relative and hair-splitting criticism to say so. Here is the same variety of touch and articulation, the same impeccable technical control, the same vital projection.
As one would expect, Rousset's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue is particularly rhetorical and dramatic. He successfully binds together the disparate textures of the fantasy, and relishes Bach's extra-ordinary harmonic flights of fancy, although some of the more reflective passages could have been allowed a little more time. The fugue is taken more briskly than usual, but Rousset's control is such that it doesn't sound rushed. Throughout, he plays the chromatic subject legatissimo, the notes actually overlapping, which certainly sets it apart from the surrounding contrapuntal lines.
The rest of his programme can be directly compared with Kenneth Gilbert's …