Rameau’s Infamous Uncle

Group 6 Background info on Rameau’s Nephew

In Rameau’s Nephew, Rameau expresses a lot of hate toward his uncle, which had us wondering–how did the rest of the world feel about Rameau’s uncle?  Was this feeling of hatred a shared one?

It turns out that the world saw Jean-Philippe Rameau first and foremost as a composer and an opera writer, and a great one at that.  Not too much was written about what he was like as a person, however.  We did find that he was withdrawn and a bit of an introvert, which some believed stemmed from a hard work ethic.  In addition to that, we also learned that Rameau was very careful with money; upon his death his possessions consisted of a few pairs of clothes, a pair of shoes, and an old harpsichord in need of repair, despite the fact that he had amassed a small fortune.  Though he apparently didn’t find the need to spend his money on himself, he was known to often lend money to others.  For instance, he took good care of his daughter as well as his sick sister; he even was said to have helped out other musicians from time to time.  This suggests that he was a very generous person–not at all one to be hated.  And, if that doesn’t say enough about his character, over 1,500 people were said to have attended his funeral, which suggests that he wasn’t only highly respected as a musician but that he was also well-liked.




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