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J.Ph. Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Francois de Larrard, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    J.Ph. Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, from the second book of harpsichord pieces (1724)

    Dear All,
    Please find a series of harpsichord pieces that I have recorded recently, though I have played them for a long time. They form the first half of the second book of Rameau's solo harpsichord music. After an introductory "Menuet en rondeau" (in C), the nine present pieces are all in E, either major or minor, and are sometimes considered as a suite, although they do not appear like this in the edition. But they are nice to play or (hopefully !) to listen as such.

    The menuet is sometimes used in piano beginners method; yes it is easy to play, but yet it is beautiful music, I think. In the following pieces, I'd like to emphasize the "Rappel des oiseaux", which is so descriptive of a dialog between birds, an idea used by more recent composers like Liszt or, of course, Messiaen. I have also a particular love for the second "Musette en rondeau": here we realize that those Baroque musicians, who lived close to kings and courts, were also fed with folk music. Actually this music evokes not only Versailles, but the whole French society of this early XVIIIth century, a time of special happiness in our history, when the people could breath and have good time after the last decades of Louis XIV' heavy reign...

    A last remark: this music sounds very well on the modern piano, too, unlike most Couperin which is essentially harpsichordistic (if this word exists in English...).

    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 1. "Menuet"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 2. "Allemande"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 3. "Courante"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 4. "Gigue 1"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 5. "Gigue 2"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 6. "Rappel des oiseaux
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 7. "Rigaudon"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 8. "Musette"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 9. "Tambourin"
    Rameau - Menuet and Suite in E, 10. "La Villageoise"
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    :shock:
    You are a sadistic harpsichordist. :p :lol:

    Hi Francois,
    I'm just teasing... :)
    Can you please tell me what title I should use for this set? What is the book actually called, that sort of thing so I can make a new category for it. Unless you just want it to go under Rameau "miscellaneous"? Also, I am not complaining, but 10 recordings at once will take me a long time to process and I have very limited free-time these days. So just to let you know, it may take me the whole weekend to get all these done.
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Monica, In my book it is Suite (1724). Suite in E (1724) maybe?

    Francois, vous êtes un grand artiste! I Love your playing and the quality of these recordings themselves in nothing less than fabulous. Your instrument has a beautiful sound to it (I only heard one change of stops) and you evidently keep it perfectly tuned (for recording purposes anyway). Thank you for bringing this music into my life. You may remember that I am preparing Rameau's Gavotte et Doubles, and you're making me very nervous! This is lovely playing. Yes you had a very rare slip or two but who cares. You ornamentation is contextual and very well executed! I have one question, how/why the triplets in the Rigaudon?

    Your grateful auditor,
    Eddy
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Okay, I'll go with "Suite in E". Sorry, Francois, I did not read the title that you had already supplied... :oops:
     
  5. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Francoise, a great job again with harpsichord music! It's always a special pleasure to me to listen to your playing on your harpsichord :D Your last remark raised a question: What kind of properties in a piece which is originally for harpsichord composed (cause it's from the old time) does make it sounding good on a modern piano as well, do you think? I cannot easily imagine that this suit will work also on it well (oh my lack of imaginary!!!).
     
  6. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Hello François,

    This is fun! I like especially the birds. This "suite" will be a good addition to the site.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Okay, Francois, these are up. I checked all the links, but please do so yourself in case I missed something.

    As far as your playing goes, I've nothing but praise, as I expected. :) I like the guitar sound in the no. 3. And I don't know how you did it, but I like how you got an octave higher to sound in the RH of the no. 5 - near the beginning when the main theme repeats. That's neat. And no. 9 - I know this one and don't know why but I've always loved it. So catchy, and now it's stuck in my head.


    Regarding birds in music - don't forget about Granados and his beloved nightingales! :)
     
  8. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,
    Does 'sadistic' refers to 'sad' in English or to 'Marquis de Sade' in French? :wink:

    Regarding the work load for you: yes, I'm a very bad boy to submit such a bunch of short pieces in one shot, so I am worth punishing making me wait for some days or weeks :oops: ...
    As for classification, if I refer to my Durand edition of Rameau's integral solo harpsichord music, the pieces appear as follows:

    - 'Premier livre de pièces de clavecin (1706)'.

    - 'Pièces de clavecin (1724)'
    The present series forms the beginning of this book. Also, 'Les Niais de Sologne', recorded by Sandro Bisotti, pertains to this group;

    - 'Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin ou second livre' (no publication date). In this one you find 'L'Egyptienne' (another tune of which a recording is available at PS)

    - one isolated piece called "La Dauphine"

    - 'Cinq pièces extraites des pièces en concert'
    (which are yet on the site).

    Therefore I guess it coud be nice to set on the Rameau page 'Pièces de clavecin (1724)', 'Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin ou second livre' and 'Cinq pièces extraites des pièces en concert', and to put links from these groups to the lists of individual pieces.

    When you have time, Monica... Regards,
     
  9. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Eddy for your so enthusiastic post. This gives me motivation for the rest of the integral...
    As for my harpsichord, it is... a digital keyboard (Yamaha P 120), that I purchased about 10 years ago for playing jazz piano out of my home. However it turns out that the sound I prefer is the harpsichord one. And the funny thing is that when I record it (directly to a computer), and when I put the recording on a CD, it sounds better on the Hi-Fi sound system than when I play on the keyboard. Of course a real harpsichord is better when you listen it directly - provided it is well tuned - but when recorded, this postiche one can compete...

    Finally I'm afraid I did not get your point about triplets in the Rigaudon. Perhaps you're talking about the fact that I don't play the eighth notes equally but rather alternating long one/short one/long one/short one etc ? This is common in French baroque music (and also, more recently, in boogie-woogie piano music !). It is a way to give more drive and rythmic efficiency to a piece that could otherwise sound a little mechanistic and boring. There are many discussions between baroque specialists to decide whether or not such an irreguar rythm should be adopted. As for myself, I do that rarely, but in the case of the rigaudon I find this rythm suitable. Pure subjectivity...

    Hi, Hye Jin, and thank you for your kind compliment. To answer your question, I'll prefer to take the oposite case, when a piece sounds on the harpsichord but not (or less) on the piano. This may happen:
    - when the piece is a little lean (only two voices but not in contrepoint). With the harpsichord you can superpose different sounds, like with an orchestra. Not with a piano;
    - when there are clusters in the loud range. As a matter of fact, if you play e.g. a chord of C-E-G in the low range of a modern piano, it makes a dark noise and you have hard time making the distinction between the different notes, while the harpsichord still sounds clear and transparent;
    - when you have two many ornaments. In some Couperin's pieces, you may have one every two notes in a melodic line. On harpsichord it sounds like the natural vibrato of a singer, but on the piano, especially a grand one with an heavy mechanism, you have difficulties to play equally and clearly such a high number of very quick trills, so it is not nice to hear...

    Finally, if you cannot imagine nice renderings of Rameau at the piano, just listen the great Marcelle Meyer (1897-1958):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTKc66bK-gc&feature=fvsr


    Thank you, Richard. Yes some birds are great musicians. For instance the blackbirds who come to my garden at spring...
     
  10. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Monica. Hence our posts did cross each other, so I hope my previous post will answer your questions about classification of Rameau's pieces.

    Yes this guitar is more pleasant, soft and mellow than many real 'lute' sounds of harpsichords, which sound often very dry. As for the octave higher, it is a 4' sound that is added to the 8' one, like on a organ.

    I'm still very ignorant in Granados. Well, I have to buy some CDs. Could you give me advice in this matter ? I guess Alicia de La Rocha is inescapable, isn't she ? But you may know more recent recomendable recordings ? Incuding yours, of course...
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    The second one. :lol:

    Okay, Francois, I've just completed remaking the entire Rameau page and have listed three categories:

    1. Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin ou second livre
    2. Pièces de clavecin (1724)
    3. Pièces de clavecin en concert

    I did not make another category for 'Cinq pièces extraites des pièces en concert', since you said we do not have any recordings from this set yet. Is everything on the Rameau page okay, now?
     
  12. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Monica,
    We're near perfection ! There is just a little re-ordering to do:

    - on http://pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=2555
    the chronological order is

    Pièces de clavecin (1724)
    Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin
    Pièces de clavecin en concert

    - on http://pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=2951
    Hence the first Menuet, which is in fact a 'Menuet en rondeau' is an introductory piece, in C. Also the suite in E comes before the other one. Therefore I'm suggesting the following order:

    Menuet en rondeau 0:49 Larrard, F. de

    Suite in E

    Complete recording by Francois de Larrard
    1. Allemande 2:59
    2. Courante 2:21
    3. Gigue 1 1:33
    4. Gigue 2 2:00
    5. Rappel des oiseaux 3:00
    6. Rigaudon 1:17
    7. Musette 1:39
    8. Tambourin 1:13
    9. La Villageoise 2:09

    8.Tambourin 1:17 Faulk, E.

    Suite in D

    Les Niais de Sologne 6:42 Bisotti, S.

    Otherwise, the links seem correct. Have a good sunday,
    François

    P.S.: BTW I have just listened 'Les Niais de Sologne' by S. Bisotti. This piece is a tryptic, comprising the original theme + premier double + second double (here a 'double' is a kind of variation). Strangely enough, the pianist only plays the doubles. So I think it should be correct to write: 'Les Niais de Sologne (premier et second double)'.
     
  13. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Richard. Yes some birds are great musicians. For instance the blackbirds who come to my garden at spring...

    Ah, when they used to come on my terrace too! They uprooted all the freshly planted geraniums, but they sang while doing it! Now I am terraceless. Until we find a new place us, which I hope to be soon.
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Okay, Francois, I have made some of the changes you requested, but I did not change the order because we typically list titles (and people) alphabetically. So D before E, etc....


    @Richard - you are talking to yourself? :lol:
     
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Monica ! If I may bother you a last time (for this post :) ): on page http://pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=2951
    The 'Menuet en rondeau' is in Cmajor, and is not included in the 'Suite in E'. Also, the 'Menuete' should be now deleted, and the rest of the pieces of the Suite in E need to be re-numbered.
    That's all ! Regards,
     
  16. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Francois,
    Je suis triste. I'm still trying to get over the fact that it was a digital piano :shock:. For "acoustic" music, this has to be the very best use of a digital piano! The whole romanticism of a Frenchman in Nantes, France, playing early music of the great French clavecinists on an actual harpsichord ... oh, my bubble has been burst :cry:
     
  17. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Eddy,
    You don't have to be sad. It is even the contrary. You like harpsichord, but you had in mind that
    - good harpsichords are very expensive;
    - they are difficult to move (although much lighter than pianos);
    - they are always out of tune (as you seem to like French, I will tell you a popular joke we use for harpists, but which works also for harpsichordists: les clavecinistes passent la moitié de leur temps à accorder leur instrument, et l'autre moitié à jouer faux :evil: );
    - as a pianist, you'll have hard time playing a harpsichord because of a very sensitive touch and a narrow keyboard.

    Everything is true. However:
    - my digital piano costs about 1,200 euros, which is much cheaper than any reasonable harpsichord;
    - you can tune it in any temperament among a choice of 7 different ones. Also you can change the pitch within a second;
    - and you can trap people living 6,000 km away sending them nice mp3 files of harpsichord :lol: !
    Life is beautiful, isn't it ?
     
  18. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Francois,
    Yes the joke is very funny :lol: . We'll just keep the recordings coming, I enjoy them very much and they help me expand my knowledge of the early stuff. Speaking of life being beautiful, I hope you saw Roberto Begnini's fantastic La vie est belle (1997). Everyone should see that movie!
     
  19. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Once again, it is enjoyable to listen to your harpsichord recordings, even if it's not a harpsichord! Daquin's Le coucou would make a nice addition to the Rappel des oiseaux; I'd be interested in hearing that. I don't know many of these pieces in their "natural" environment but I had encountered a couple of them previously in piano arrangements by Godowsky.
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Okay, done. Hopefully, we are all set now. (*fingers crossed...* :))
     

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