Rameau: Zéphire, RCT 61

SKU: BA8872-90

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Format Descriptions

  • Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau
  • Editor: Nathalie Berton-Blivet
  • Piano reduction: François Saint-Yves
  • Instrumentation (this edition): Piano Reduction, Voice
  • Originally for: Opera
  • Work: Zéphire, RCT 61
  • Work Language: French
  • ISMN: 9790006575893
  • Size: 7.5 x 10.6 inches
  • Pages: 92
  • Urtext / Critical Edition


Rameau's ballet-opera "Zéphire" is based on the legend of Zephire and Flora, as immortalized by Ovid in the fifth book of his "Fasti". Zéphire, the god of the west wind, loves Chloris, a forest nymph of the goddess Diana. Despite the brevity of the dramatic action, the nymphs and zephyrs, the ballet and the chorus, are given great importance in the dances and choruses. in the end, the lovers win the favour of the feared goddess, and Zéphire transforms Chloris into Flora, the goddess of spring.

Similar to "Pygmalion", this ballet act also offers the popular ingredients of Rameau's operas in a compressed form: a fragrant, light orchestral texture alongside delicate, expressive melodies, in addition instrumental numbers of various colours, sometimes floating, then again with rhythmic drive. Interestingly, Zéphire is not cast as a haute-contre in this acte de ballet, but as a soprano.

The many questions surrounding the possible compositional context of this little gem, which was never performed during Rameau's lifetime, are explored in detail in the introduction to the corresponding Complete Edition volume published by OOR. This new critical edition is based on the autograph, which contains several layers of composition. Five appendices also reproduce the original versions in the vocal score, insofar as these could be restored.

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