Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) was the greatest French composer of the 18th century, but until the age of fifty he was best known as the author of a learned treatise on the science of music. When he finally achieved fame as an opera composer he polarised Parisian society like no other artistic figure of his time, for his personality was as complex and as singular as his music.
Simon Trowbridge's book, now in its second edition, is the first biography of Rameau to be published in English in over half a century. It is both an introduction to Rameau's life and work and an exploration of his significance as a major figure in the cultural and intellectual life of Paris during the middle decades of the 18th century.
Rameau emerges as a musician who was politically as well as artistically radical, an often paradoxical figure who worked within the official realms of the Opéra and the court but who remained his own man.
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