Jean-philippe Rameau (1683-1764)

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20080819

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
2/5. Rameau is best known for his operas, yet he didn't write his first one until he was nearly 50. The result, Hippolyte et Aricie, caused an absolute sensation. Donald Macleod investigates.
Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 1 excerpt)
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski (conductor)
Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 2, Sc 2-5)
Aricie....Veronique Gens (soprano)
Hippolyte....Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor)
Phre....Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano)
Diane....Therese Feighan (soprano)
L'Amour/Une Bergere/Une Matelote....Annick Massis (soprano)
Pluton/Neptune/Jupiter....Laurent Naouri (baritone)
Thesee....Russell Smythe (baritone)
Ensemble Vocal Sagittarius
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski (conductor)
Castor et Pollux (Act 1, Sc 3)
Agnes Mellon (soprano)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)
Les Fetes d'Hebe (Act 3, Sc 7)
Iphise....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
L'oracle....Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)

20080821

4/5. Donald Macleod introduces a complete performance of Rameau's acte de ballet of 1748 Pygmalion, which was an instant hit with the Parisian public. By this point, Rameau was so successful that he was officially banned from having more than two operas staged in a single year.

La Dauphine

Sophie Yates (harpsichord)

Pygmalion

Pygmalion....John Elwes (tenor)

Cephise....Mieke van der Sluis (soprano)

Statue....Francois Vanhecke (soprano)

Amour....Rachel Yakar (soprano)

Choeurs de la Chapelle Royale, Paris

La Petite Bande

Gustav Leonhardt (conductor)

0120080818

During his lifetime, Rameau was widely regarded as the greatest French composer of the age, yet within a few decades of his death, his music had fallen into neglect. It took a century for the Rameau revival to begin and almost as long again for him to be fully rehabilitated. Donald Macleod considers the composer's first 50 years, which for the most part are shrouded in mystery.
Contredanse (La guirlande)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)
Prelude (Premier livre de pieces de clavecin)
Michel Kiener (harpsichord)
In convertendo
Sophie Daneman, Olga Pitarch (sopranos)
Jeffrey Thompson (tenor)
Nicolas Rivenq (bass-baritone)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)
Le berger fidele
Veronique Gens (soprano)
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski (conductor)
Les sauvages; La poule (Nouvelles suites de pieces de clavecin)
William Christie (harpsichord)

01Life Begins at 5020140908

Donald Macleod marks the 250th anniversary of one of the greatest figures in French musical history, composer and theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau.

Controversy was never too far away from Jean-Philippe Rameau. He lived a long life, amid the lively cultural and aesthetic debates that erupted in France after music was freed from Jean-Baptiste Lully's artistic monopoly. An octogenarian at his death in 1764, Rameau was by then a prosperous and successful opera composer. However, unlike his contemporaries, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti, Rameau was something of a late starter. Born in Dijon, he spent the first part of his life in the provinces, working in relative obscurity. He didn't make his name until the age of 50, at which point he conquered the stage in Paris with his first opera. What followed was a remarkable burst of creativity, amounting to about a hundred works, in addition to a regular and prolific publication of original theoretical writing.

In the first part of this week's series Donald looks at the impact of Rameau's breakthrough work, the opera Hippolyte et Aricie. Joined by Rameau expert, Professor Graham Sadler, he explores the reasons why this seemingly innocuous adaptation of Racine created such a hornet's nest of conflicting opinion, dividing audiences into two camps, the "Lullistes" and the "Ramistes".

0220071120

Rameau is best known for his operas, yet he didn't write his first one until he was nearly 50. The result, Hippolyte et Aricie, caused an absolute sensation. Donald Macleod investigates.
Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 1 excerpt)
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski (conductor)
Hippolyte et Aricie (Act 2, Sc 2-5)
Aricie....Véronique Gens (soprano)
Hippolyte....Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor)
Phèdre....Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano)
Diane....Thérèse Feighan (soprano)
L'Amour/Une Bergère/Une Matelote....Annick Massis (soprano)
Pluton/Neptune/Jupiter....Laurent Naouri (baritone)
Thésée....Russell Smythe (baritone)
Ensemble Vocal Sagittarius
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski (conductor)
Castor et Pollux (Act 1, Sc 3)
Agnes Mellon (soprano)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)
Les Fetes d'Hebe (Act 3, Sc 7)
Iphise....Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
L'oracle....Jean-Paul Fouchecourt (tenor)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor).

02The Menagerie20140909

Donald Macleod discusses the musical resources Rameau was given by his patron.

Life in the Menagerie, the home of Jean-Philippe Rameau's larger than life sponsor, the colourful Parisian tax farmer, Alexandre-Jean-Joseph Le Riche de la Pouplinière.

Controversy was never far away from Jean-Philippe Rameau. He lived a long life, amid the lively cultural and aesthetic debates that erupted in France after music was freed from Jean-Baptiste Lully's artistic monopoly. An octogenarian at his death in 1764, Rameau was by then a prosperous and successful opera composer. Unlike his contemporaries, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti, Rameau was something of a later starter. Born in Dijon, he spent the first part of his life in the provinces, working in relative obscurity. He didn't make his name until the age of 50 when he conquered the stage in Paris. What followed was a remarkable burst of creativity, amounting to about a hundred works, in addition to the prolific publication of original theoretical writing.

Today, Donald Macleod looks at the musical resources made available to Rameau, while living with his wife and children in the comfort of his patron's mansion, and Professor Graham Sadler, an authority on Rameau, fills in some of the blanks surrounding Rameau's formative activities in the provinces.

0320080820

Donald Macleod continues his exploration of the life and work of Rameau with music composed for the wedding in 1745 of the Dauphin to Maria-Theresa of Spain. Including excerpts from the comic opera Platee, and the first act of La Princesse de Navarre, a collaboration with the writer Voltaire.
Fifth Concert (Pieces de clavecin en concerts)
Rachel Brown (flute)
Mark Caudle (viol)
James Johnstone (harpsichord)
La Princesse de Navarre (Act 1)
Marilyn Hill-Smith, Eiddwen Harrhy, Frances Chambers, Judith Rees (soprano)
Michael Goldthorpe (tenor)
Peter Savidge (baritone)
Ian Caddy, Richard Wigmore (bass)
English Bach Festival Singers and Baroque Orchestra
Nicolas McGegan (conductor)
Plat (Act 1, Sc 3 - end)
Platee....Gilles Ragon (tenor)
Mercure....Guy de Mey (tenor)
Clarine....Veronique Gens (soprano)
Ensemble Vocal Francoise Herr
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski (conductor)

03Rameau's Singers20140910

Donald Macleod discusses Rameau's favourite singers at the Paris Opera.

Donald Macleod continues his series marking the 250th anniversary of Jean-Philippe Rameau's death by taking a look at the roles Rameau created for his favourite singers.

Controversy was never far away from Jean-Philippe Rameau. He lived a long life, amid the lively cultural and aesthetic debates that erupted in France after music was freed from Jean-Baptiste Lully's artistic monopoly. An octogenarian at his death in 1764, Rameau was by then a prosperous and successful opera composer. Unlike his contemporaries, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti, Rameau was something of a later starter. Born in Dijon, he spent the first part of his life in the provinces, working in relative obscurity. He didn't make his name until the age of 50 when he conquered the stage in Paris. What followed was a remarkable burst of creativity, amounting to about a hundred works, in addition to the prolific publication of original theoretical writing.

Today Donald reflects on the considerable vocal challenges Rameau set his singers and discusses the close relationship between music and dance in his stage works, with Dr. Jonathan Williams, founder of The Rameau Project at the University of Oxford, whose activities this year include preparing and performing two of Rameau's operas, Zaïs and Anacréon.

04By Royal Appointment20140911

A royal seal of approval from Louis XV sees a shift in Jean-Philippe Rameau's activities away from the Parisian stage to mounting spectacular performances at court.

Controversy was never far away from Jean-Philippe Rameau. He lived a long life, in the thick of the lively cultural and aesthetic debates that erupted in France after music was freed from Jean-Baptiste Lully's artistic monopoly. An octogenarian at his death in 1764, Rameau was by then a prosperous and successful opera composer. Unlike his contemporaries, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti, Rameau was something of a later starter. Born in Dijon, he spent the first part of his life in the provinces, working in relative obscurity. He didn't make his name until the age of 50 when he conquered the stage in Paris. What followed was a remarkable burst of creativity, amounting to about a hundred works, in addition to the prolific publication of original theoretical writing.

Celebrations for the wedding of Louis XV's eldest son to the Spanish Infanta resulted in Jean-Philippe Rameau's comic masterpiece, Platée and two other major commissions for the court. Thereafter more than half of his stage works were intended for court, where he was given generous resources. Today, Dr. Jonathan Williams from The Rameau Project joins Donald Macleod once again, to discuss the instrumental forces Rameau drew on to create his unique and brilliant orchestral sound.

05 LAST20071123

Donald Macleod devotes his final programme on Rameau to the composer's final opera Les Boreades, an astonishing work that, incredibly, had to wait almost 300 years for its first staging.
Les Boreades
Alphise....Barbara Bonney (soprano)
Semire....Anna-Maria Panzarella (soprano)
Une Nymphe....Jael Azzaretti (soprano)
Abaris....Paul Agnew (tenor)
Calisis....Toby Spence (tenor)
Boree....Laurent Naouri (baritone)
Borilee....Stephane Degout (baritone)
Apollon....Nicolas Rivenq (baritone)
Opera National de Paris
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor).

05 LAST20080822

Donald Macleod devotes his final programme on Rameau to the composer's final opera Les Boreades, an astonishing work that, incredibly, had to wait almost 300 years for its first staging.
Alphise....Barbara Bonney (soprano)
Semire....Anna-Maria Panzarella (soprano)
Une Nymphe....Jael Azzaretti (soprano)
Abaris....Paul Agnew (tenor)
Calisis....Toby Spence (tenor)
Boree....Laurent Naouri (baritone)
Borilee....Stephane Degout (baritone)
Apollon....Nicolas Rivenq (baritone)
Opera National de Paris
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (conductor)

05 LASTThe Philosopher Artist20140912

Exploring how aesthetic quarrels and political upheaval had a dramatic effect on Rameau.

Aesthetic and political turmoil have a dramatic effect on Jean-Philippe Rameau's later years.

Controversy was never far away from Jean-Philippe Rameau. He lived a long life, amid the lively cultural and aesthetic debates that erupted in France after music was freed from Jean-Baptiste Lully's artistic monopoly. An octogenarian at his death in 1764, Rameau was by then a prosperous and successful opera composer. Unlike his contemporaries, Bach, Handel and Scarlatti, Rameau was something of a later starter. Born in Dijon, he spent the first part of his life in the provinces, working in relative obscurity. He didn't make his name until the age of 50 when he conquered the stage in Paris. What followed was a remarkable burst of creativity, amounting to about a hundred works, in addition to the prolific publication of original theoretical writing.

In this final part of his survey Donald Macleod is rejoined by Rameau expert Graham Sadler. Together they look at the ways in which the changing nature of cultural life impinge on Rameau's theoretical and composing interests.