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Angélique Diderot, Prelude in G-Sharp Major. Rebecca Cypess, Square Piano

Angélique Diderot (1753–1824), daughter of the French philosopher Denis Diderot, was a
prodigious keyboardist. Unlike most young ladies of the bourgeois and upper classes of
eighteenth-century Europe, her musical education did not stop at performance—it also
encompassed harmony and composition. In the 1760s, she took private lessons with the
professional keyboardist and composer Marie-Emanuelle Bayon. In 1769, Angélique she began
studying with Anton Bemetzrieder, and she appears as a character in Bemetzrieder’s Leçons de
clavecin (Keyboard Lessons, 1771). Her one surviving composition—a prelude in the unusual
key of G-sharp major—appears in print at the end of that volume, and it shows Angélique’s
harmonic adventurousness and skill as a composer. In this program, Rebecca Cypess presents
solo keyboard music that Angélique Diderot played: music by Bayon and Bemetzrieder, fantasies
and sonatas by C. P. E. Bach and J. C. Bach, and works from the Neapolitan school by
composers such as Pietro Domenico Paradisi, as well as Angélique Diderot’s one surviving

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