‘Les Sauvages’ is perhaps one of Rameau’s best-known and memorable tunes. Inspired by indigenous North American dances presented at the court of Louis XV, this five-part rondeau appeared first in the G major/g minor harpsichord suite of 1728, and subsequently in ‘Les Indes galantes’ of 1735, where it is entitled ‘Danse du grand calumet de la paix’ (‘Dance of the Great Peace Pipe’).
In this somewhat anachronistic and fleshed out adaptation for STB recorders, each instrument takes a turn at the tune, which is often heavily ornamented. Although optional, percussion adds significant color. Tenor drum, field (military) drum, or tenor tom-tom are all effective possibilities. For dynamic balance, care should be exercised in the choice of beaters. A tambourine might also be used to good effect — a good option where a recorder player must be co-opted for the part.
This score is suitable for those with experience playing French baroque music. Triple and double tonguing are required in the soprano (bb. 54 & 82). Duration: 2:20
A fun trio for STB with optional drum, arranged from the well-known “Les Sauvages” from the French Baroque opera “Les Indes galantes” as well as for solo keyboard, by Jean-Phillippe Rameau. Familiarity with the original music will increase your enjoyment of the arranger’s humorous treatments of the melodies and overall organization. Based on one of this reviewer’s top favorites by Rameau, this trio is a bit higher on the difficulty scale, with lots of 16th note gestures that invoke your ensemble skills. There are low E-flats and C-sharps in the Tenor part, as well as high B-flats and C’s in both the Tenor and Soprano parts. The Bass part gets some fun 16th-note passages with scale runs and arpeggios in easy keys, and the Soprano line has some very fast ornamental scale passages. The drum part is fully composed and has a lot of variety.