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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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Rameau - The Opera Collection
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Erato  
Catalog: 636487   Number of Discs: 27
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Rameau: Les Grands Motets / Herreweghe, La Chapelle Royale
Release Date: 08/15/2000   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951078   Number of Discs: 1
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Rameau: Pièces De Clavecin En Concerts / Rousset, Et Al
Release Date: 06/10/2003   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951418   Number of Discs: 1
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Rameau: Les Indes Galantes Suites / Herreweghe, Et Al
Release Date: 08/15/2000   Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord  
Catalog: 1951130   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 26 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Legato - The World of Piano / Hamelin, Aimard...
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059848 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Nikolai Medtner,  Dafydd Llywelyn,  Leopold Godowsky  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Berezovsky,  Roland Pöntinen,  Marc-André Hamelin,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard
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  • 2.
    Mozart: Symphony No. 38; Schumann: Symphony No. 2; Rameau: Gavotte / Klemperer, New Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1482 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann,  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $23.98
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  • 3.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 4.
    Bach, Rameau, Handel, Gluck, Haydn / Otto Klemperer [8-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 484332 Release Date: 05/07/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 5.
    Baroque Conversations / David Greilshammer
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 792969 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Morton Feldman,  Antonio Soler,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  David Greilsammer
    CD: $12.99
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  • 6.
    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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    CD: $49.99
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  • 7.
    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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  • 8.
    Label: Skarbo   Catalog: 1096 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Jean-Pierre Ferey
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  • 9.
    Sari Biro Legacy: Historic Performances 1944-1972
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1174 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Sari Biro
    Conductor:  Emanuel Vardi,  Wilhelm Loibner
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    CD: $34.99
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  • 10.
    Legato - The World Of The Piano - Pontinen, Roland: Listening To Yourself
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2055768 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Isaac Albeniz,  Kaija Saariaho,  Ferruccio Busoni  ... 
    Performer:  Roland Pöntinen
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 11.
    Rameau: Concerts Mis En Simphonie
    Label: Musiques Chabotterri   Catalog: 605006 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Hugo Reyne
    Conductor:  Hugo Reyne
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  • 12.
    The Harmonious Blacksmith / Trevor Pinnock
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 413591 Release Date: 01/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Caspar Fischer,  François Couperin,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock
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  • 13.
    Variations - Haydn, Rachmaninov, Berio, Rameau, Brahms / Vanessa Wagner
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 134 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Luciano Berio,  Jean-Philippe Rameau  ... 
    Performer:  Vanessa Wagner
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    Rameau, Scarlatti, Mozart, Haydn / Robert Casadesus
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5033882 Release Date: 08/29/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Robert Casadesus,  Bernard H. Garfield,  John De Lancie,  Anthony Gigliotti  ... 
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  • 15.
    Rameau, Haydn, Chopin, Etc / Cherkassky
    Label: Wigmore Hall Live   Catalog: 14 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Paul Hindemith,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
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  • 16.
    A Basket Of Wild Strawberries - Rameau / Barto
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1067 Release Date: 04/18/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Tzimon Barto
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    Wiener Philharmoniker - Live Performances / Klemperer
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1365 Release Date: 11/08/2005   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Wilma Lipp,  Eberhard Wächter,  Ernst Pamperl,  Walter Weller  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    On sale! $137.98
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  • 18.
    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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    On sale! $17.98
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  • 19.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Famous Works For Harpsichord - Couperin, Et Al / Beauséjour
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 23121 Release Date: 01/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Pietro Domenico Paradies,  Johann Caspar Fischer,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Luc Beauséjour
    CD: $18.49
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Bach: Four Orchestral Suites;  Handel, Et Al / Klemperer
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 2131 Release Date: 06/08/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Luigi Cherubini,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra
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    On sale! $52.98
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  • 23.
    Classic Romance II / John Novacek
    Label: Four Winds   Catalog: 3006 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Alexander Scriabin,  Franz Liszt,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  John Novacek
    CD: $12.99
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  • 24.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    The Golden Age Of Harpsichord Music / Rafael Puyana
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434364 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Philips,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Martin Peerson,  François Couperin  ... 
    Performer:  Rafael Puyana
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