25 de septiembre de 2011

Happy Birthday! J.P.Rameau - September 25, 1683



Jean-Philippe Rameau, (baptized Sept. 25, 1683, Dijon, France—died Sept. 12, 1764, Paris), French composer of the late Baroque period, best known today for his harpsichord music, operas, and works in other theatrical genres but in his lifetime also famous as a music theorist.
Rameau’s father, Jean, played the organ for 42 years in various churches in Dijon and hoped one day to see his son on a lawyer’s, rather than an organist’s, bench. These hopes were dashed by the boy’s deplorable performance in school. At the age of 17 he is said to have fallen in love with a young widow who laughed at the errors of grammar and spelling in his letters to her. He tried to refine his language, but, to judge by the prolixity of his later theoretical writings, his efforts resulted in no permanent improvement.
To some ears there was, indeed, too much music. Those who had grown up with the operas of Jean-Baptiste Lully were baffled by the complexity of Rameau’s orchestration, the intensity of his accompanied recitatives (speechlike sections), and the rich and often dissonant diversity of his harmonies. Among those at the first performance of Hippolyte was the great Voltaire, who quipped that Rameau “is a man who has the misfortune to know more music than Lully.” But he soon came around to Rameau’s side and wrote for him a fine libretto, Samson, which was banned ostensibly for religious reasons but really because of a cabal against Voltaire; the music was lost. Their later collaboration on two frothy court entertainments is preserved, however: La Princesse de Navarre and Le Temple de la Gloire (both 1745). The former was condensed and revised as Les Fêtes de Ramire (1745) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Rousseau, Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, and other writers associated with Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie began as ardent Rameau enthusiasts, but, by the mid-1750s, as they warmed more and more to Italian music, they gradually turned against him. Rameau appreciated the new Italian music as much as anyone, but the works he composed in this style, such as the overtures to Les Fêtes de Polymnie (1745) and to his final work, Abaris ou les Boréades (1764), do not bear the mark of individuality.

Font: Encyclopædia Britannica

2 comentarios:

  1. One of my favourite if he's not THE one!

    ResponderEliminar
  2. Thiago, yes , Rameau is great! Regards, M.O

    ResponderEliminar