Rameau – Complete Works for Harpsichord + Presentation (recording of the Century : Scott Ross)

Rameau – Complete Works for Harpsichord + Presentation (recording of the Century : Scott Ross)

February 12, 2020 19 By Kailee Schamberger


Rameau is the ambassador of modern harmony. He is one of the greatest musical theorists of all time. Rameau showed that some chords are inversions of other chords. He proved, for example, that the perfect chord is only a combination of the harmonics of the fundamental note and he concluded that when the notes of the perfect chord are arranged differently, the new chord is only an inversion of the original perfect chord. However, when he made the perfect chord, by the addition of the upper and lower thirds, the central element of harmony, he created problems that could only be solved by completely abandoning the principle of tonality. Rameau believed that any thought or feeling could be faithfully expressed through music, and that each sound and each harmony had its own ‘character’. His characteristic ability and imagination, which is never lacking, made him the absolute master of the eighteenth century. With scrupulous respect for form, he composed minuets, gavottes, rigaudons, bourrées and marches of extraordinary delicacy, reinforced by rich and audacious harmonies. Jean-Aubry writes: ”Rameau is the wise intelligence that applies itself to know the human heart and the means at its disposal to express itself.” The harpsichord of the castle of Assas. French-style instrument from the mid-18th century. The two keyboards are veneered in ebony, the feints in bone, the fronts of the keys decorated with arches. The coupling of the keyboards is made by drawer. The registers, four in number, are operated from the levers inside the case. They are, in the first keyboard: eight feet – four feet, in the second keyboard : eight soft feet, a lute register. The range of this harpsichord with a great ‘flourish’ is from and a note from F to F. The mechanics are old, keyboards, locusts, flat pegs not pierced. The tuning is one semitone below the modern pitch. This harpsichord, whose origin is rather mysterious, was acquired by Mrs. Simone Demangel who installed it in the castle of Assas where it continues to live in its wonderful setting. END