Pièces de clavecin en concerts

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Jean-Philippe Rameau, by Jacques André Joseph Aved, 1728

The Pièces de clavecin en concerts, published in 1741, constitute the only chamber music by Jean-Philippe Rameau and were composed in full maturity; they came after his music for solo harpsichord, and just before Les Indes galantes.

They are very different from the trio sonatas in the Italian manner (such as those of Corelli), where the harpsichord is only providing the role of a continuo bass. In Rameau's works, the harpsichord is at the heart of the ensemble, playing a fully written-out obbligato part with virtuosity, with the accompaniment falling to the violin and viola da gamba. Rameau provided for differing instrumental combinations: the flute can replace the violin and a second violin can replace the viola da gamba. It is possible to compare these works with the violin sonatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, written earlier, around 1720, in which the melodic material is shared equally between the violin and harpsichord and the harpsichord part is obbligato nearly throughout.

They are divided into five concerts of 3 to 6 movements with typical French 'character' names, some of which can be enigmatic: a name of a place (Le Vézinet), of character (La timide, L'agaçante) or of persons (La Forqueray, La Marais, La Rameau). The last type of appellation was not used by Jean-Philippe Rameau for his solo harpsichord works.

Pieces de clavecin en concert[edit]

Premier concert (First Concert in C minor), RCT 7[edit]

  1. La Coulicam
  2. La Livri
  3. Le Vézinet

c. 10 mins

Deuxième concert (Second Concert in G major), RCT 8[edit]

  1. La Laborde
  2. La Boucon
  3. L'agaçante
  4. Premier menuet, Deuxième menuet

c. 19 minutes

Troisième concert (Third Concert in A major), RCT 9[edit]

  1. La Lapoplinière
  2. La timide
  3. Premier tambourin, Deuxième tambourin

c. 13 minutes

Quatrième concert (Fourth Concert in B flat major), RCT 10[edit]

  1. La pantomime
  2. L'indiscrète
  3. La Rameau

c. 11 minutes

Cinquième concert (Fifth Concert in D minor), RCT 11[edit]

  1. La Forqueray
  2. La Cupis
  3. La Marais

c. 13 minutes

Lengths are drawn from the Trevor Pinnock/Rachel Podger/Jonathan Manson recording.