Jean Rondeau: Gradus ad Parnassum

March 13, 2023, 9:00 am

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Aspiring to Parnassus, the mythological mountain home of the Muses, Jean Rondeau explores the possibilities of the harpsichord in music composed over more than 400 years – much of it for the piano. He pays tribute to the Austrian composer Johann Joseph Fux, who in 1725 published the original Gradus ad Parnassum, an influential treatise on counterpoint, and to Muzio Clementi, whose similarly titled collection of piano studies came a century later. The theme continues with Debussy’s Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum, an affectionate parody of Clementi from the Children’s Corner suite. The album’s scope extends to the Renaissance (Palestrina) and to works conceived for the piano by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Rondeau’s Gradus ad Parnassum sensitizes us to what repertoire written for the piano can reveal about the harpischord – and to what the harpsichord can reveal about repertoire written for the piano.