Danse des Zéphirs

EUBO 2012 met up for its first rehearsals in Echternach in July to prepare for its debut tour ‘Danse des Zéphirs’ between 19 and 29 July. The same programme was performed also 2 & 4 November 2012.

Director & harpsichord Lars Ulrik Mortensen

Concertmaster Zefira Valova

Concert programme

JF REBEL (1666-1747)

Les Elémens

Le Cahos – Air pour l’amour – Loure: La Terre et l’Eau – Chaconne: Le Feu

MA CHARPENTIER (1643-1704)

Pour un reposoir H508

Ouverture – Tantum ergo – Quand les prestres auront chanté Tantum ergo – Amen – Allemande grave

JF REBEL (1666-1747)

Les Caractères de la Danse

[Prélude – Courante – Menuet – Bourrée – Chaconne – Sarabande – Gigue – Rigaudon – Passepied – Gavotte – Sonate – Loure – Musette – Sonate]

JPh RAMEAU (1683-1764)

Opera Suite “Danse des Zéphirs”

dances from the operas Zaïs, Les Boréades and Platée

Ouverture – Entrée – Gavottes pour les suivants de Borée/pour Orithié – Passepieds – Air andante – Les vents – Air pour Borée – Entrée de Polymnie – Rigaudons pour les Zéphirs – Gavottes pour les Heures et les Zéphirs – Orage

Programme note

The life-blood of the French court was dance, and it permeated every sphere of musical life. French opera composers became expert at weaving ballet movements into the dramatic fabric of their works which often featured also descriptive effects of all kinds. Jean-Féry Rebel’s best known work is the choreographed ‘symphony’ Les Elémens published in 1737. The opening movement of the piece is one of the most startling in all baroque music. In his preface to the score the composer explained that ‘The introduction to this Simphonie … is Chaos itself, the confusion that reigned between the Elements before the instant when, obeying unchanging laws, they had taken the places assigned to them in the Natural order’. Illustrative of this the orchestra play every note of the D minor harmonic scale simultaneously, eventually resolving to the single note representing Earth. All four elements are represented in the dances: Water and Earth in the first Loure; Air in the Ramage, and fire in the Chaconne.

Les Charactères de la Danse, is a more conventional ballet suite, though no less inventive. Published to great acclaim in 1715, it was danced right across France and into England in 1725. The suite is remarkable for its kaleidoscopic survey of currently fashionable dance forms – eleven in all – which flash past often in a matter of seconds.

One the most influential ballet composers was Jean Philippe Rameau. For the Opera suite “Danse des Zéphirs” the musical director of EUBO, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, has selected some of the finest pieces from Rameau’s opera Les Boréades, Platée and Zaïs. The dances and airs of the opera work perfectly well out of their original context. As matter of fact Rameau himself realised that one could excerpt the instrumental music into suites for use outside the opera house but he never got a chance to put together a suite from Les Boréades.