View Full Version : Jean-Philippe Rameau

Olivier Cayatte
Aug-22-2005, 16:11

I would like to introduce my favourite composer to you.

Jean-Philippe Rameau (September 25, 1683 - September 12, 1764) is one of the most important French composers (with Debussy and Berlioz). He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera.

It wasn't until he reached his 40s that Rameau achieved prominence in the field of composition, but by the death of Couperin in 1733 he was arguably the leading French composer of the time. From then on he devoted himself primarily to opera.

He wrote about 25 operas. The most famous are Hippolyte et Aricie, Les Indes Galantes, Castor et Pollux, Dardanus, Platée et Les Boréades.

My favourite opera is Les Boréades, his last creation. Rameau reserved for this work some of his most beguiling music : the brief, voluptuous love-duet in Act V, which would surely have found approval with Debussy, and above all the Entrée de Polymnie (Act IV, Scene 4) perhaps the most melting and gravely sensual writing for orchestra to emerge from the entire Baroque era. His music sounds very modern : new thematic devices are called into play - terse and fragmentary to suggest sighs or gusts of wind (as in the Webern-like prelude to Act V).

He is well known for his theories regarding tonality through basse fondamentales or root notes, the idea that chords remain equivalent under inversion, described in Traité de l'harmonie (1722) and Nouveau système de musique théorique (1726).

He composed also many harpsichord pieces. Some are very famous like La Poule, Les Sauvages, Gavotte et six doubles and Tambourin .

Hope you will enjoy listening his music.

Jean-Philippe Rameau / Discographie (http://farhad.efka.club.fr/rameau/index.htm)

Aug-22-2005, 23:39
Interesting. Can you perhaps recommend any litterature about Remeau in English?

Olivier Cayatte
Aug-23-2005, 12:28
Of course !

This one is the bible https://www.magle.dk/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tiphat.gif :

Jean-Philippe Rameau : His Life and Work by Cuthbert Girdlestone (Dover)

Definitive full-scale biography and critical study of great 18th-century composer. Full treatment of great operas and ballets as well as Rameau’s life and musical times, acoustic and harmonic theories, link to Lully, influence on Gluck, other topics. Numerous useful appendixes, indexes and an extensive bibliography. Over 300 musical examples.

Jean-Philippe Rameau / Discography (http://farhad.efka.club.fr/rameau/index.htm)

Theodor Ulieriu
Feb-04-2006, 16:05
Yes, Rameau is indeed a great composer. I can`t be surprised to hear such a vitality and vigour and inventivness from a 50, 60 years old man! Platee is such a crazy work, tell me, do you know that moment when the quoi?quoi? of the choir goes to the oac oac of the frog? Vivaldi and Rameau are the ones I adore for composing like one would do in his 20s.
What about Lully and Gluck? - they are two poles, Rameau links them, but how do you like a tragedie like Lully`s Atys or Gluck`s Orphee et Eurydice (the French versoin with Minkowski`s Les Musiciens du Louvre is amazing!)
Regards, Theo

Feb-26-2006, 16:28
Hello (wow my first post here will be about Rameau),

he belongs to one of my favourite composers as well. I am more into his harpsichord suites, but if time allows I will discover his operas as soon as possible. A good complete recording is Trevor Pinnock's Rameau cycle. Fresh and lively. The pieces are so much joy to play oneself, too. He had a great sense for "characters" and early forms of programmatical ideas, like his titles show, and each so special.

Greetings to all,

Mar-03-2006, 04:41
Hi, I have an exam Piece by Rameau, it is called La Triomphante, it is a really nice piece I must add.