Composer: Jean-Féry Rebel (b. 1666 - d. 1747)
Performance date: 06/07/2016
Venue: St. Brendan’s Church
Composition Year: 1715
Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category:Baroque Ensemble
Instrumentation Other: 3vn, va, vc, rec, db, lute, hpd, ob
Concerto Copenhagen (Antoine Toruncyzk [oboe], Fredrik From, Peter Spissky, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Judith-Maria Blomsterberg [cello], Kate Hearne [cello, recorder], Marrias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [theorbo], Marcus Mohlin [harpsichord]) -
Jean-Féry Rebel is possibly one of the most fascinating of French baroque composers and one of the first French musicians to compose sonatas in the Italian style. This Parisian musician was born into a family of professional musicians and was a pupil of the esteemed Lully. He was employed at the Opéra sometime prior to 1700 and later became one of the 24 Violons du Roi in 1705 before achieving the status of both chamber composer to the King and musician of the Chapelle Royale. Rebel was primarily a secular music composer due to his close involvement with instrumental music and wrote many creative and elegant sonatas including a tribute to his mentor in Le tombeau de Monsieur de Lully. Nonetheless what is most remarkable about Rebel was his novel approach of writing ballet music that was independent of larger musical works. Les Caractères de la Danse is a fantasy, published and premiered in Paris in 1715 and was at the time an immediate success. Originally composed for ballet early performances featured three of the most famous and respected French dancers of the period and Rebel’s ingenious music allowed each of the fourteen dances to shine out as an individual piece of art. Les Caractères de la Danse is a unique composition opening with a gracious Prélude followed by a continuous suite of abridged popular dance movements – Doux – Courante – Menuet – Chaconne – Sarabande – Gigue – Rigaudon – Passepied – Gavotte – Sonate – Loure –Musette – Sonate. Both Sonates are written in a virtuosic Italian style. The composer’s music is truly extraordinary and travels from tender and sweet to intensely sensual to theatrically dramatic and presents to the audience a series of lovers in varying moods. Les Caractères de la Danse is special in that it was created specifically for public consumption. The work really gave his dancers something to work with and the execution of each dance should inspire the audience to many dreams of love.
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