Gavotte Variée by Jean-Philippe Rameau

August 1, 2009

Volnay, BurgundyIn June I made a trip to Burgundy (photo of Volnay by Prateek Tandon), where the Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau was from. I first discovered his music on a Groanbox tour of the East Coast of the US back in 2007, during which Michael Ward-Bergeman and I were performing as a duo, riding around in a Ford Ranger and listening pretty much exclusively to John Hartford and classical radio stations (we tend to fixate). Avant-garde for its time, Rameau’s music was perhaps overshadowed during his lifetime by his quintessential Treatise on Harmony, an analysis of Western music through the painfully exact, universalizing lens of Enlightenment methodology. Probably not my cup of tea. I just like the music.
This piano piece (originally written for harpsichord), Gavotte Variée (the gavotte was a popular French danse in the 17th and 18th centuries), is classically baroque and yet to my ears veers into very modern sounding thematic territory. Love the left hand work. It gets better with each listen. Performed by the piano virtuoso Mordecai Shehori from the great cd, Conversations of the Muses…
Gavotte Variée (Rameau)

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2 Responses to “Gavotte Variée by Jean-Philippe Rameau”

  1. Kevin Says:

    You might like Couperin as well, especially his four books of harpsichord music. Genuinely weird-sounding Baroque pieces. It’s too bad that French music from that period is somehow outside the classical mainstream, because it is really gorgeous.

    • cocoringo Says:

      thanks for reawakening that kevin. couperin is definitely eery-baroque! i’m listening to some of his spooky disjointed harpsichord music on spotify as i write this.


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