Duration: 13:53


harpsichord & soundtrack


LES SOUPIRS DE RAMEAU (The Sighs of Rameau )  is a multimedia work for harpsichord, soundtrack and video, commissioned in 1995 by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts and  dedicated to the late, great Annelie de Man. Visual artist Kristien Kerstens made the images, to be projected on the lid of the instrument.


Inspired by ‘Les Soupirs’ from the Suite no.2, Pièces de Clavecin,1724 by Jean Philippe Rameau. Quotations from that piece can be found in the score like the stretched-out melody in the beginning. The work contains baroque characteristics like symmetry, ornamentation, fugato structures, arpeggios, a basso continuo and a passacaglia. The harpsichord itself is subject of the work. The instrument was sampled by microphone and camera. The centrifugal music gradually transforms the small sound of the harpsichord into a grooving mechanical monster

that threatens to explode, whereas the images are much more centripetal, still and intimate. The original pictures were slides. The image-manipulation, which in Kristien Kerstens’ later work is digitally created, was in 1994 still done in the "old-fashioned" way, by manually sliding, cutting and pasting.

Les Soupirs is one of the forerunners of JacobTV's speech based boombox repertoire:

Louis XIV: “Les routes de nuit sont si peu sûres”.  (The nocturnal roads are dangerous. ) Guillaume Apollinaire: “Et des mains vers le ciel plain de lacs de lumière s’envolaient quelque fois comme des oiseaux blancs.”  (And hands to the sky full of lakes of light sometimes fly away like white birds) From: L’émigrant de Landor Road.) Featuring the scops owl. (otus scops)

‘De Zuchten van Rameau’ was recorded on JacobTV - Shining City Basta Records 3091742


LES SOUPIRS DE RAMEAU can be performed with or without videos.

The DVD also contains the videos as aquick time file to play from a computer.

Annelie de Man performing

stills from the video



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