The programme I have chosen to perform on the magnificent Taskin harpsichord belonging to the Museu Nacional da Música’s collection, includes my transcription of Les Éléments by Jean-Féry Rebel, as well as a selection of pièces de caractères by French composers of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The four elements – earth, wind, fire and air – are given individual leitmotifs in Rebel’s work. Beginning with Le Chaos, where a tone cluster represents the Big Bang, the work goes on to use bird song and an Aria for Cupid to complete Rebel’s representation of the universe. The pièces de caractères – a musical genre perfected by French baroque composers – are musical representations of different emotional states, people or subjects.
This narrative music offers a rich and nuanced rendering of many themes.