Elements of Dance


Lars Ulrik Mortensen, director & harpsichord

Huw Daniel, concertmaster

Concert programme

JF REBEL (1666-1747) Les Elémens
Le Cahos – Loure: La Terre et l’Eau – Chaconne: Le Feu – Ramage – Rossignolo – Loure – 1er tambourin – 2e tambourin – Sicilienne – Rondeau (Air pour l’Amour) – Caprice (Rondeau)

JPh RAMEAU (1683-1764) Suite from Zoroastre
Entrée des Mages – Air [pour les Bactriens] – Loure – Sarabande – Rigaudons – Air Tendre – Airs [pour les Esprits infernaux]


JPh RAMEAU Suite from Platée
Ouverture – Air Pantomime – Passepieds – Tambourins – Loure – Orage – Menuets, dans le Goût de vielle – Rigaudons – Air pour les Foux gais – Air pour les Foux tristes – Passepieds – Rigaudons

JF REBEL Les Caractères de la Danse
[Prélude – Courante – Menuet – Bourrée – Chaconne – Sarabande – Gigue – Rigaudon – Passepied – Gavotte – Sonate – Loure – Musette – Sonate]

One of the most dramatic beginnings to any concert programme must surely be the first bar of Rebel’s suite Les Elemens. A complete discord, all seven notes of the octave sounded simultaneously, in a very apt but also very unexpected and modern sounding representation of chaos, of the world before its creation. Then through the rest of the suite, you hear how chaos changes into order, how out of individual notes not sounding together harmony is gradually built, how the lack of time or the lack of pulse slowly but inevitably changes into rhythm, you hear how single notes are combined into melodies, and the transformation from chaos to order, from lawlessness to rules and to logic, from single letters to words and sentences, or how meaning and beauty emerge out of almost nothing results in a very moving and very dramatic piece of music which I guess that hardly any of the audience will know beforehand, but after that they will have learned a lot about how music works, generally, and possibly more specifically how French music works. Because that is of course the essence of the idea of the programme; it is music from the French baroque.

The other composer needed to feature in such a programme is of course Jean-Philippe Rameau, who more or less single-handedly transformed the moving and expressive but also slightly static conventions of the French baroque opera of the previous generation, composers like Lully and Campra, into what later times would probably have called a Gesamtkunstwerkin the romantic sense. A piece of dramatic music where all the elements, song, solo song, choruses, arias, recitatives, orchestra combined music, and dance, fuse into a dramatic language of quite extraordinary power. There is of course, nothing new in devising suites of the dances from Rameau’s operas, we have chosen one here from his middle period, Zoroastre, but every time you play Rameau’s dance music you as a performer get fascinated and struck by the immense variety and contrast that Rameau is able to employ. I don’t think that there is any human feeling or condition or state of mind that has not in some way been expressed in rhythm, in gesture and in suggested choreography by Rameau’s music and it is music which today sounds as fresh and as spontaneous as it undoubtedly did when it was first listened to 300 years ago.


28 January 2016 – in Teatru Manoel, Valletta (MT) – at the Valletta International Baroque Festival
30 January 2016 – in deSingel, Antwerp (BE) – for Belgian Radio Klara (broadcast live at
31 January 2016 – in Trifolion Echternach (LU) – Family Concert