By Daniel Hathaway
Tonight at 7:30 pm, the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Perspectives presents Mike Block, cello (CIM alum and member of the Silk Road Ensemble), and Balla Kouyaté, balafon (West African xylophone) in a program to be announced from the stage of Mixon Hall. The show is sold out, but you can watch the webcast here.
On this date in 1764, French composer Jean Philippe Rameau died at the age of 80 in Paris. After filling a number of organist positions in the provinces, he finally moved to the capital and took up writing opera at the advanced age of 50. He premiered Hippolyte et Aricie in 1733, immediately igniting a stylistic controversy with the followers of Jean-Baptiste Lully, who had been the reigning composer in France to that point. Described as tall and exceptionally thin, Rameau’s personal appearance was captured by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle in a famous watercolor (above).
The Cleveland Institute of Music Opera department produced Hippolyte et Aricie two seasons ago in a co-production with the Case Western Reserve University Baroque Ensembles in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Joint Music Program between CIM and CWRU. Watch a video of Act I here, followed by Act II here.
In addition to opera, Rameau composed prolifically in other forms to the end of his life. Click here to watch the “Euntes ibant” movement from his motet In Convertendo, one of his few works of church music and one of only four motets to be authenticated. Quire Cleveland and Les Délices join forces under guest conductor Scott Metcalfe in a performance at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights on April 29, 2018.