Numerous harpsichord pieces and many operas, including Hippolyte et Aricie, Castor et Pollux, Le Temple de la gloire, Les Paladins, and Les Indes galants.
His birth date is uncertain, but he was baptized 25 September 1683.
Rameau began his musical career as an organist, but for a long time was best known as a theorist. His Treatise on Harmony was one of the most infulential works of the 18th century.
Rameau didn’t begin composing operas until he was into his fifties. Hippolyte et Aricie was his first attempt, and though it later became very successful, the Parisians (who were naturally suspicious of music written by a theorist rather than a practical composer) found the music far to wild and violent for their tastes. It was toned down to accomodate them.
He became very sucessful as an operatic composer, and was an important player in the so-called War of the Buffonists which sprang up in Paris after a performance of Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona. The conflict dropped off after the successful perfomance of an Italian opera which was actually written by a Frenchman.
Rameau’s output is small if measured in total number of works, but when one considers that he didn’t begin a serious career in composition until his life was more than half over, the amount of actual music is astounding.
- France, Dijon, 5-7, rue Vaillant — 25 Sep 1683