Pièces de clavecin en concerts

The Pièces de clavecin en concerts, published in 1741, constitute the only chamber music by Jean-Philippe Rameau and were composed in full maturity; they came after his music for solo harpsichord, and were published before his opera Platée.

Jean-Philippe Rameau, by Jacques Aved, 1728

They are very different from the trio sonatas in the Italian manner (such as those of Corelli), where the harpsichord is only providing the role of a continuo bass. In Rameau's works, the harpsichord is at the heart of the ensemble, playing a fully written-out obbligato part with virtuosity, with the accompaniment falling to the violin and viola da gamba. Rameau provided for differing instrumental combinations: the flute can replace the violin and a second violin can replace the viola da gamba. It is possible to compare these works with the violin sonatas of Johann Sebastian Bach,[citation needed] written earlier, around 1720, in which the melodic material is shared equally between the violin and harpsichord and the harpsichord part is obbligato nearly throughout.

They are divided into five concerts of three to four movements with typical French 'character' names, some of which can be enigmatic: a name of a place (Le Vézinet), of character (La timide, L'agaçante) or of persons (La Forqueray, La Marais, La Rameau). The last type of appellation was not used by Jean-Philippe Rameau for his solo harpsichord works.

Premier concert edit

First Concert in C minor, RCT 7:[a]

  1. La Coulicam
  2. La Livri: Rondeau Gracieux
  3. Le Vézinet

c. 10 mins[b]

Deuxième concert edit

Second Concert in G major, RCT 8:

  1. La Laborde
  2. La Boucon: Air Gracieux
  3. L'agaçante
  4. Premier menuet, Deuxième menuet

c. 19 minutes

Troisième concert edit

Third Concert in A major, RCT 9:

  1. La Lapoplinière
  2. La timide: 1er Rondeau, 2e Rondeau
  3. Premier tambourin, Deuxième tambourin en Rondeau

c. 13 minutes

Quatrième concert edit

Fourth Concert in B flat major, RCT 10:

  1. La pantomime
  2. L'indiscrète: Rondeau
  3. La Rameau

c. 11 minutes

Cinquième concert edit

Fifth Concert in D minor, RCT 11:

  1. La Forqueray: Fugue
  2. La Cupis
  3. La Marais

c. 13 minutes

Recordings edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ RCT numbering refers to Rameau Catalogue Thématique established by Sylvie Bouissou and Denis Herlin.
  2. ^ Lengths are drawn from the Channel recording.

External links edit