All week in the 1 o’clock hour of Intermezzo, hear keyboard music of French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. 

Considered to be one of the most important composers of the French Baroque, Jean-Phillipe Rameau was born in Dijon on September 25, 1683.  

The seventh of eleven children, Rameau was the son of an organist who spent his younger years working in relative obscurity. His fortunes would change, however, when he moved to Paris in 1722 and published his pathbreaking Traité de l’harmonie (Treatise on Harmony) which won him immediate acclaim as a critical thinker and theorist. 

In the French Baroque era, the ultimate form—and ultimate validation—for a composer was opera and despite being a late bloomer, Rameau would revolutionize the genre with works like Hippolyte Et Aricie, Castor Et Pollux, Dardanus and Les Indes Galantes. Stressing the importance of melody, a reduction in the amount of recitative, and continued use of powerful choruses, Rameau creates a rich palette of chords and harmonizations to achieve a new level of dramatic tension and pacing. 

In celebration of Rameau’s birthday, hear selections from the sixty or so known keyboard pieces gathered into five suites. Featuring the elegant playing of Angela Hewitt and Stephen Gutman, the works highlight the imaginative and intellectual writing of Rameau. 

Happy birthday, Rameau!