stay-at-home cyclopes

In my second stay-at-home video, I play J.Ph. Rameau’s Les Cyclopes, a piece that is good for encores but dangerous to play when too tired (so it’s always good to have an alternative ready!).



I am told that the preparation process that was necessary for making this video is, in the speedrunning community, referred to as “derusting” (thanks to Nick Blanton for this information). I should add that while systematically and meticulously derusting the cyclopes’ hammerwork, I also made myself familiar with the technique to edit away the beginnings and ends of my videos in iMovie. Part of why I do these videos, however, is to arrive at single-take good versions, so there are – as one will be able to hear and especially see – no cuts and edits anywhere during the performance.

Rameau was proud of this new type of “batteries” of his own invention, but a few stylistic questions need to be asked about his then-modern approach to keyboard technique: where the cyclopes heavy hammerers or rather speedy hammerers? Where they hopping along in a French inégale stumble, or where they somehow divinely enabled to achieve that regular precision that had been unfashionable for earlier generations of French musicians? It will remain uncertain, how much Rameau was charting new territory in terms of style as well as playing technique. I did experiment with a lot of different tempi and degrees of inequality in the eighth notes, and this is what I found to work best, for me, at this point in time.


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