Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)

Rameau the enchanter

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)

Pièces de clavecin en concerts (1741)
Premier concert
Deuxième concert
Troisième concert

Cantate à voix seule et symphonie (1721)

Pièces de clavecin en concerts (1741)
Quatrième concert
Cinquième concert


Judith Van Wanroij, Mezzo-soprano
Gilone Gaubert, Violin
Teodoro Baù, Viola da gamba

Les Talens Lyriques
Christophe Rousset
, Direction & harpsichord

“These are probably Rameau’s finest harpsichord pieces. With them he revolutionised the idea of the harpsichord in France. They pushed all the other composers into the shadows, especially Couperin. They enabled him to establish himself as the ultimate composer for harpsichord, offering great Italian virtuosity but retaining an idiomatic French style. What’s more, these pieces have their sights set on opera. In his two books for harpsichord, he was not yet a lyric composer. By 1741, when he delivered these harpsichord pieces, he had already composed Les Indes Galantes and Castor et Pollux and had developed an amplified orchestral gesture. In fact, he liked to use some of these pieces for lyrical works, particularly “L’Agaçante” in Zoroastre. In my opinion, this is the best of Rameau, he is as his most seductive, most refined and sophisticated.
The cantata was written in 1721, which makes it an early work of his career. But his aim was already to prove to programmers that he was capable of writing an opera and that he knew how to use a voice. For this, we are lucky enough to have Judith Van Wanroij, a long-time companion of Les Talens Lyriques. Her style is impeccable and her pronunciation of French exemplary. She anticipates my wishes because she knows what I want and what I enjoy hearing.”

Christophe Rousset