(b Tarbes, 23 Jan 1936). French pianist. She studied with Marcel Ciampi as a child and later at the Paris Conservatoire. She gave her first recital at the age of five and made her professional début in 1954 at the Salle Gaveau, Paris. Despite success in several international competitions including finalist status in the Queen Elisabeth (1956) and Van Cliburn (1962), her early career was largely restricted to minor musical venues. This situation changed abruptly in 1975 after her London début. From then until the 1990s, her unflagging brio, force and clarity were greatly celebrated. The French remained sceptical, but London audiences were thrilled by her heroically scaled performances. Ousset has appeared with most of the major European orchestras and at festivals, and made her US début in 1984 with the Los Angeles PO and Minnesota Orchestra. She has returned annually to perform widely in the USA, and has also performed in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa. A specialist in the virtuoso repertory, she has been heard to glittering advantage in music such as Brahms's Second Concerto, Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto, the Liszt B minor Sonata and Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, all of which she has recorded. Her BBC television appearances include a film charting her career and a recital in which she performed the complete Debussy Preludes.
Ouvert [overt, vert]
In medieval French music the first-time ending for a repeated musical section; the second-time ending is termed clos (Fr.: ‘closed’). The words are found particularly in the sources of 14th-century music (like the Italian Aperto (ii) and Chiuso (ii)) since songs at that time characteristically included sections that were repeated with the second ending on the tonic, or final, and the first ending on some other pitch, often a 2nd away. In many such cases the open and closed endings would be equal in length and would have the same part-writing except for the shift to a different pitch level.
The words ‘clausum’ and ‘apertum’ were applied to such endings by Johannes de Grocheo (c1300) and many subsequent theorists. In his Tractatus cantus mensurabilis (CoussemakerS, iii, 124–8) Egidius de Murino even provided instructions for the composition of secular forms in terms of the ouvert and clos cadences: for a ballade simplex there was to be an apertum and a clausum at the end of the first half but only a clausum at the end; a ballade duplex should have apertum and clausum after each half; a virelai simplex has an apertum at the end of the first half and a clausum at the end of the second half; a virelai duplex has an apertum and a clausum after each half; and a rondeau should have a clausum at the end, but at the middle it should have an apertum built on a 10th when it finishes on ut and on a 5th when it finishes on la. A similar passage in US-PHu lat.36, f.207, refers to the endings as overtum and clausulum.
Ouvrard [Du Reneau], René
(b Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, 16 June 1624; d Tours, 19 July 1694). French theorist, musician, ecclesiastic and man of letters. As a youth he trained in theology and music in Tours. About 1657 he was maître de chapelle of Bordeaux Cathedral, about 1660 chef de la maîtrise of Narbonne Cathedral, and from 1663 at the latest maître de musique of the Ste Chapelle in Paris until in 1679 he retired to Tours as canon at the cathedral.
Ouvrard wrote on architecture, theology, mathematics and music. As correspondence reveals he was aware of the most recent developments in musical theory and in French and Italian musical practice. He seems to have been close to such prominent Parisian figures as the Perrault brothers, François Blondel and François Arnaud. His first works are traditional, but La Musique rétablie, which occupied him for the last 20 years of his life, is a vast encyclopaedic project. It was to be divided into three parts (‘Harmonic Prenotions’, a ‘Harmonic Library’ and ‘The Universal Practice of Music’) but only the first two subjects were covered, and then only incompletely. The ‘Harmonic Prenotions’ was to have contained eight treatises presented in Latin and French. Ouvrard hoped to end this section with reflections of a pedagogical nature. The ‘Harmonic Library’ aimed to be a historical and bibliographical catalogue of compositions and writings on music, with a summary of each entry. As for the ‘Universal Practice of Music’, its objective was to provide an introduction to practical musical issues such as composition and the art of singing, and a definition of current musical style. Although no compositions of Ouvrard's have survived, he is known to have favoured the Italian style, especially oratorios in the style of Carissimi, for which he developed a taste while visiting Italy in 1655. He had a great influence on such theorists as Etienne Loulié and Sebastien de Brossard.
only those on music
Secret pour composer en musique (Paris, 1658 [pubd under the pseudonym ‘Du Reneau’], 2/1660)
L’art et la science des nombres (Paris, 1677)
Architecture harmonique (Paris, 1679)
Lettres à Nicaise (MS, F-Pn fr.9360)
La musique rétablie depuis son origine (MS, F-TOm 821–2)
A. Cohen: ‘René Ouvrard (1624–1694) and the Beginnings of French Baroque Theory’, IMSCR XI: Copenhagen 1972, 336–42
A. Cohen: ‘The Ouvrard-Nicaise Correspondence (1663–93)’, ML, lvi (1975), 356–63
P. Vendrix: ‘L'augustinisme musical en France au XVIIe siècle’, RdM, lxxviii (1992), 237–55
P. Vendrix: Aux origines d’une discipline historique: la musique et son histoire en France aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Geneva, 1993)