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Born: 1683, Dijon, FranceDied: 1764, Paris, France

“Harmony alone can stir the emotions. It is the one source from which melody directly emanates and draws its power.”

Rameau is best known today for his numerous theater works, but he began his career as an organist, serving a number of provincial and Parisian churches. Although he published a book of keyboard pieces as early as 1706, his breakthrough work was a monumental theoretical treatise on harmony published in 1722. He was 50 when he composed his first opera, which created a furor and established him as the foremost opera composer of the day.

Further listening:Les Indes galantes (opera, 1735) Les Arts Florissants, William Christie (Harmonia Mundi)