Jean-Féry Rebel: Notes and Commentary

Jean-Féry Rebel was an innovative French Baroque composer and violinist. He was considered a child prodigy on the violin and later studied under Jean-Baptiste Lully. He was one of the first French musicians to compose sonatas in the Italian style. Many of his compositions are marked by striking originality that include complex counter-rhythms and audacious harmonies that were not fully appreciated by listeners of his time. His Les caractères de la danse combined music with dance, and presented innovative metrical inventions. The work was popular and by some accounts was performed in London in 1725 under the baton of George Frideric Handel. In honor of his teacher, Rebel composed Le tombeau de M. Lully (literally, “The Tomb of Monsieur Lully”; figuratively, “A Tribute to Lully”).

Some of his compositions are described as choreographed “symphonies.” Among his boldest original compositions is Les élémens (“The Elements”) which describes the creation of the world. He lived from April 18, 1666, to January 2, 1747.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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