Jean-Philippe Rameau

Biography

Born: Sep 25, 1683; France   Died: Sep 12, 1764; France   Period: Baroque
Jean-Philippe Rameau was one of the truly multifaceted musicians of his day. Acclaimed for his innovative and popular operas, he was also known as one of the greatest organists in France, and his theoretical writings continue to influence musical thinkers over two centuries later.

Although his father was a professional organist, Rameau was expected to pursue a career in the law. However, he was musically very precocious, teaching himself Read more several instruments and the basics of harmony and composition. After spending more time on music than on his studies at the Jesuit College in Dijon (1693-1697), Rameau was removed from school; only when he was 18 did his parents give in to his wishes for a musical career. He went to Italy for a few months, and spent some time playing violin in a travelling French opera troupe. Then he took organist posts in Clermont-Ferrand (1702-1705), Paris (1705-1708), Dijon (1709-1714), Lyons (1714-1715), and Clermont again (1715-1722).

Rameau had begun composing for the harpsichord, publishing his first book of keyboard works in 1706 (subsequent volumes appeared in 1724, 1728, and 1741). He had also written a few motets and secular cantatas, and had started his first book, the Traité de l'harmonie (published 1722), which later made his reputation as an important theorist.

Hoping for greater fame as a composer, he moved to Paris in late 1722; there he took on some private students and composed numerous keyboard and short stage works. Eventually, he came to the attention of the financier and courtier Le Riche de la Pouplinière, who hired Rameau as conductor of his orchestra (a position he held for some 22 years) and allowed him and his family to live in his mansion. Through La Pouplinière, Rameau also met many of the great writers of his day, including some who later became librettists for his operas.

Rameau produced his first opera, Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), at the age of 50. The work wasn't well received initially, but the opera Castor et Pollux (1737) was much more successful, and Rameau gradually became known as one of France's leading composers. For the rest of his life, he divided his time between composing and writing further theoretical works like Nouveau système de musique théorique (1726), Dissertation sur les differents méthodes d'accompagnement pour le clavecin ou pour l'orgue (1732), and Démonstration du principe de l'harmonie (1750). He felt his theoretical works were at least as important as his music, and defended his theories in extensive correspondences and debates with many of the leading musical thinkers in Europe.

In 1745, he was appointed composer of the King's chamber music. He continued writing operas, both tragic works like Dardanus (1739, rev. 1744) and comedies like Platée (1745) and La Princesse de Navarre (1745). These and his other operas and incidental music (he wrote about 30 stage works in all) were noteworthy for their expanded harmonic palate, their brilliant choruses and ballets, and the prominent role Rameau gave to the orchestra. But not everyone admired his music, and for years a bitter public rivalry existed between the Rameau partisans and the "Lullistes," who preferred the somewhat more conservative works of Jean-Baptiste Lully. Rameau also had to defend his musical style in the "War of the Buffoons" of 1752 against those who preferred the lighter Italian operas of composers like Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Four months before his death, Rameau was granted a patent of nobility by King Louis XV. He died just before his 81st birthday, and was buried at his parish church at St. Eustache. Read less

Rameau: Hippolyte et Aricie / Lyon, Karg, Connolly, Christie
Release Date: 07/29/2014   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1143   Number of Discs: 2
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Jean-Philippe Rameau: The Complete Keyboard Music, Vol. 3 / Gutman
Release Date: 02/25/2014   Label: Toccata Classics  
Catalog: 52   Number of Discs: 1
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Rameau, Gretry, Charpentier / Leppard, English CO
Release Date: 04/08/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002005202   Number of Discs: 1
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Rameau: Pièces De Clavecin / Sophie Yates
Release Date: 10/24/2000   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 659   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: La poule

Browse 1-23 of 23 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Archiv Produktion 1947-2013
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001833572 Release Date: 06/18/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Anonymous,  Adam de la Halle,  Raimbaut de Vaqeiras  ... 
    Performer:  Helmut Walcha,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Hermann Töttcher,  Maria Jung  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Ristenpart,  Fritz Lehmann,  Maurus Pfaff,  Safford Cape  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Karl Ristenpart Chamber Orchestra,  Bach Festival Orchestra,  Frankfurt Music School Chorus  ... 
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    On sale! $169.98
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  • 2.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
    CD: $179.99
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  • 3.
    Avie Records - 10th Anniversary
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2265 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Enescu,  Gabriel Fauré,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Monica Huggett,  Gonzalo Ruiz,  Luiza Borac,  Charles Owen  ... 
    Conductor:  Monica Huggett,  Harry Bicket,  Imogen Cooper,  Vasily Petrenko  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Sonnerie,  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Northern Sinfonia  ... 
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  • 4.
    Rameau: Pieces de Clavecin (played on accordion) / Viviane Chassot
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 11216 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Viviane Chassot
    CD: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Baroque Collection / Neville Marriner, ASMF
    Label: Philips Baroque Classics   Catalog: 422488 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  John Wilbraham,  Don Smithers
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 6.
    111 Years Of Deutsche Grammophon [55-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001341002 Release Date: 10/20/2009   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Krystian Zimerman,  Fritz Wunderlich,  Hubert Giesen,  Helmut Walcha  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Daniele Callegari,  Herbert von Karajan,  Karl Richter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Verdi Grand Symphonic Orchestra Milan,  Verdi Chorus Milan  ... 
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  • 7.
    Classical Discovery - The History Of Classical Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 184622 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Charles Gounod,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Ronn McFarlane,  Cécile Ousset,  E. Power Biggs,  Grace Bumbry  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Kurt Masur,  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Baltimore Consort,  Il Complesso Barocco  ... 
    CD: $58.99
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  • 8.
    Naked Tango - Satie, Helps, Nazareth, Et Al / Svetozar Ivanov
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 327 Release Date: 02/19/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Samuel Barber,  Rodion Shchedrin,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Svetozar Ivanov
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  • 9.
    Label: Octave, Les Productions   Catalog: 23326 Release Date: 03/22/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  Marcelle Meyer,  Andrés Segovia,  Gerald Moore  ... 
    Conductor:  Rudolf Baumgartner,  Eduard Van Beinum,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Wilhelm Furtwängler  ... 
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  • 10.
    Ultimate Piano Classics - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000766402 Release Date: 11/14/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Rhondda Gillespie,  Julius Katchen,  András Schiff  ... 
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  • 11.
    Rameau: Nouvelle Suites / Calefax Reed Ensemble
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6191374 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Raaf Hekkema,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Jelte Althuis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Calefax Reed Ensemble
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    Rameau - Une Symphonie Imaginaire
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 000472036 Release Date: 07/12/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 13.
    Rameau - Une Symphonie Imaginaire
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 000447802 Release Date: 06/14/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 14.
    Label: Yoyo   Catalog: 19050 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Victor Herbert,  Gioachino Rossini,  Leopold Mozart  ... 
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  • 15.
    Rameau: Les Cyclopes / Trevor Pinnock
    Label: Avie   Catalog: 2056 Release Date: 04/05/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock
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  • 16.
    Rameau: Harpsichord Works / Eiji Hashimoto
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 2579 Release Date: 11/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Eiji Hashimoto
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  • 17.
    The Virtuoso Harpsichord Vol 1 - Rameau / Anton Heiller
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 7008 Release Date: 04/11/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Anton Heiller
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  • 18.
    Classics For Children - Prokofiev, Saint-saëns, Et Al
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 458595 Release Date: 10/12/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Jacques Ibert,  Georges Bizet,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Varda Nishri,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Pascal Rogé,  Sir Ralph Richardson  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Karl Münchinger,  Richard Bonynge,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra,  Finchley Children's Music Group  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 19.
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 598 Release Date: 09/24/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Jacques Duphly,  Domenico Scarlatti,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Sophie Yates
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  • 20.
    Children's Favorites - The Carnival Of The Animals
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 425505 Release Date: 07/31/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Gioachino Rossini,  Aaron Copland,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Varda Nishry,  Gary Graffman,  Julius Katchen,  Kenneth Heath
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Piero Gamba,  Skitch Henderson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Nicholas Parle - Harpsichord Recital - Bach, Et Al
    Label: Tall Poppies   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 02/20/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Nicholas Parle
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  • 22.
    Harpsichord - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 68458 Release Date: 08/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Bernardo Pasquini,  François Couperin,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Igor Kipnis,  Thurston Dart,  Anthony Newman
    CD: $8.99
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