Academic journal article Notes

Jean-Philiipe Rameau

Academic journal article Notes

Jean-Philiipe Rameau

Article excerpt

Jean-Philiipe Rameau. Une Symphonie Imaginaire. Les Musiciens du Louvre / Marc Minkowski. Archiv B0004478-02, 2005.

The claims made for Rameau have been rather grandiose at times. Writing shortly after the composer's death, the critic Michel-Guy de Chabanon asserted that "as a writer of operatic symphonies, Rameau never had a model or a rival." In his notes to the present recording Marc Minkowski, conductor of Les Musiciens du Louvre and compiler of this unique selection of brief snippets from some of Rameau's large-scale works, boldly asserts that "if no one today would question the claim that Rameau was the greatest orchestral genius in France before Berlioz, no one questioned it in the composer's lifetime either." (A very possibly apocryphal story has Claude Debussy, at one point, crying "Long live Rameau, down with Gluck!") No model or rival? Createst orchestral genius before Berlioz? These are not modest claims, but it has to be said that the music presented here tends to bear them out. As Minkowski explains, Rameau never wrote for the orchestra alone; his orchestral scores exist only in the context of his operas and ballets. Since he had never written the true symphonie that Minkowski wished he had, Minkowski took it upon himself to create one. …

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