What the Critics say... 


Les Délices de la Solitude

A Recital of Eighteenth century French Harpsichord Music

Deux-Elles DXL917

International Record Review, June 2001

Under the evocative title 'Les Délices de la Solitude' Terence Charlston has assembled a delightful and varied programme of harpsichord pieces by Francois Couperin and friends. Instead of sticking to the publication order of nice, neat dance suites, Charlston goes cherry picking. We get an array of the finest 'character pieces' of the age. These were a speciality of the clavecinistes and usually had personal or prgrammatic associations, hinted at in their fantastic titles. For instance, as Charlston explains in his exemplary booklet notes, Courpin's 'Le moucheron' is 'a tiny fly that gets into wine and also into the eyes, or the burning end of the wick of a candle'.

Charlston's playing is the very antithesis of the Christophe Rousset school of high-octane exuberance. Instead, he is laid back and modest; his thoughtful tempos really allow the music to breathe and the characters of the individual movements to emerge. He plays two instruments: most of the recital is on a fine double manual 1624 Ruckers copy by Andrew Garlick; the later pieces are played on a bigger instrument modelled on a 1769 Taskin built by David Robio. The recording is lovely and rich and 70 minutes is a generous overall playing time. An enjoyable introduction to the repertory of the clavecinistes. Simon Heighes


BBC Music magazine, 2001 PERFORMANCE **** SOUND ****

Terence Charlston's recital is an attractive one, pleasingly constructed and played with idiomatic fluency. Couperin's Third and Sixth Ordres or, loosely, 'Suites', are the chief beneficiaries of Charlston's discerningly selective programme, and from the latter he includes both the composer's enigmatically descriptive 'Les baricades misterieuses' and the lovely 'Les bergeries', which was soon to find place in the 1725 music-book which Bach compiled for his wife, Anna Magdalena.

Less frequently heard are eight preludes which served a dual purpose of prefacing some of the earlier ordres and providing studies for Couperin's pupils. Charlston has chosen two of them, introducing his recital with the Seventh and most elegiacally expressive of them. There is plenty to enjoy in an imaginative programme of morceaux favoris. Nicholas Anderson


Classical Music on the Web, 2001

This is a pleasing selection by Terence Charlston of 19 pieces of 18th Century French harpsichord music, a dozen by François Couperin, many of them quite well known and including Les Délices, from which the CD takes it title Les Délices de la Solitude. They are chosen from the Suites in which these composers arranged their pieces for publication, and played on modern copies of Ruckers and Taskin instruments.

Forqueray worked at the court of Louis XIV, as did Couperin, and they played together. Rameau's pieces were mostly published posthumously. Dandrieu was a Parisian. Duphly died in 1789, a day after the French Revolution broke out, 'symbolically bringing to a close the epoch of the clavecinistes'.

Terence Charlston inaugurated the Historical Practice course as Head of Early Music in the Royal Academy of Music, and he brings musicological knowledge and fluent fingers to this music, the first of a projected series for Deux-Elles. Charlston writes his own introductory notes which are adequate; track timings might be useful for broadcasters. A very pleasing introduction to the genre, as well recorded as played. Peter Grahame Woolf

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