Hyperion Records

Suite in E minor
Pièces de clavecin, 1724, revised 1731

'Rameau: Keyboard Suites' (CDA67597)
Rameau: Keyboard Suites
Movement 1: Allemande
Movement 2: Courante
Movement 3: Gigue en rondeau I
Movement 4: Gigue en rondeau II
Movement 5: Le rappel des oiseaux
Movement 6: Rigaudons I & II
Movement 7: Musette en rondeau
Movement 8: Tambourin
Movement 9: La villageoise

Suite in E minor
The Suite in E minor (1724, revised 1731) is a wonderful piece from beginning to end, and it is surprising that it is not heard more often in its entirety. It includes the well-known Tambourin which is probably Rameau’s most famous tune. It opens with an Allemande that has a lovely swing without losing the nobility of the dance. This nobility is carried over into the Courante, a true example of the French type combining a stately elegance with rhythmic sophistication and precision. Then we have a series of movements that are among Rameau’s most immediately attractive, beginning with two Gigues en rondeau. The original dance came from Scotland or Ireland where it could have originated with sailors (a trace of this can be heard in the second one), but Rameau’s are a mixture of both the Italian type (equal notes, slurred) and the French (the rondeau form and the profusion of ornaments).

The next piece, the stunning Le rappel des oiseaux, is the first of the ‘genre’ pieces in his suites. Its war-like calls rouse the birds to action, becoming more insistent as the piece progresses. Then we return to the dance with two Rigaudons, the second in the major (with a double, or variation) especially emphasizing its lively and springy character. It was a dance, done in a circle, which was often included in his operas. The Musette en rondeau is a tender, pastoral scene which Rameau recycled in his opera-ballet Les fêtes d’Hébé (1739). The insistent drone of a bagpipe and the trilling of birds accompany the feeling of contentment during the grape harvest. In the orchestral version, the ‘inégalité’ (unevenness) of the quavers (eighth notes) is written out, attesting to the practise of jeu inégal, without which French Baroque music simply sounds wrong. As in Les fêtes d’Hébé, the Musette is followed by a Tambourin—a theatrical dance which became one of the most popular of the reign of Louis XV, and in which the dancer would have had a tambourine in hand. Rather curiously, but very effectively, Rameau decides not to end the suite there, but adds La villageoise, a poignant, innocent rondeau whose theme he ends up embellishing as an extension of the second couplet.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2007

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for SACDA67597 track 5
Movement 5: Le rappel des oiseaux
Recording date
4 June 2006
Recording venue
Das Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, Dobbiaco, Italy
Recording producer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Recording engineer
Ludger Böckenhoff
Hyperion usage
  1. Rameau: Keyboard Suites (CDA67597)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: January 2007
  2. Rameau: Keyboard Suites (SACDA67597)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: January 2007
    Deletion date: November 2008
    Super-Audio CD — Deleted
   English   Français   Deutsch