One of my favorite trends of the last few years has been the number of guitarists (particularly young ones) who are exploring the keyboard works of the great French Baroque composer (and Bach contemporary) Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764). It’s true that transcribing works by Rameau for guitar is nothing new—Segovia recorded Minuets by Rameau in 1939, 1944, and 1954, and played them later in life, too. Julian Bream was playing an Alegretto by Rameau in the early 1950’s. Christopher Parkening included a Rameau Rondo in his first method book. Not surprisingly, guitar duos have done splendid work with Rameau, including the Assad Brothers. But as I said, there’s been an explosion in Rameau interpretations the last several years.
This wonderful recent performance of Rameau’s popular piece Les Sauvages, from the composer’s Nouvelles Suites de Pièces de Clavecin (1726–1727), is delivered by one of the finest young players on the contemporary guitar scene, Frenchman Raphaël Feuillâtre, who was the deserving winner of the 2018 Guitar Foundation of America competition. Raphaël included this piece on his superb 2019 Naxos Guitar Recital album (part of his GFA prize package), along with two other Rameau works. The splendid video comes courtesy of the good folks at Guitar Salon International. —Blair Jackson
Raphaël Feuillâtre Puts His Stamp on the Classical Guitar World