Les Amans Trahis
for tenor (d-g''), bass (F-e'), viol and bc
All but one of Rameau's seven secular cantatas were written during his period in Clermont Ferrand, and although full of musical and even dramatic interest, they have been overshadowed by his later stage works. It is possible that his Aquilon et Orithie and Thétis represent his first works in the genre of chamber cantata, as the composer himself places them as early as 1715 , and that Les Amans Trahis is a later work. As James Anthony has commented, this work
“is a rare example in the French Baroque of a comic cantata. It contains the earliest suggestions of a style perfected by Rameau in his lyric comedy, Platée, of 1745. The various musical means used to characterize laughing or weeping, although obvious and overworked, are at least justifiable from the standpoint of the subject matter; and the rapid Alberti bass patterns and awkward leaps of the obbligato bass viol add much to the buffo character of Damon’s airs.”
Tircis and Damon are like characters in some other dramas - like Héraclite et Démocrite in Stuck’s lovely cantata of that name – one weeps at misfortune, particularly in matters of love, and the other laughs. In the end Damon wins the argument, and they resolve that forgetting the fickleness of their girlfriends is the sweetest revenge.