Aquilon et Orithie
for bass (F#-f'#), violin and bc
This cantata Aquilon et Orithie, together with his other early work Thétis, may date from as early as 1715.
Aquilon et Orithie shows the Italian influence particularly in Rameau’s writing for violin. James Anthony notes that “Brilliant , concerto-like violin obbligati climax in the rage aria ‘Servez mes feux’ [No. 4]”(1). The final Air – Gracieusement et un peu piqué - is entirely and lyrically French however.
Aquilon (Boreas, the north wind), is in love with Oreithyia, who repulses his advances, possibly because she is a votary of Athene Polias. Aquilon determines to take her by force, and creates a frightful storm which terrorises mere mortals. During this he swoops down on Orithie when she is taking part in a ritual procession to the temple of Athene , and carries her off. The non ‘politically correct’ outcome is that she is impressed by his ardour and succumbs to his advances. The ‘moral’ of the final Air is that we should seek to please a loved one, by whatever means are necessary!
(1). Anthony J R (1997): French Baroque Music from Beaujoyeulx to Rameau, Amadeus Press, Portland, Oregon, p 435.