Rameau’s Boréades is his fifth and last tragédies en musique and opéra-ballet. Rameau’s librettist for the Boréades was Louis de Cahusac. As you know, Rameau was maligned during the Querelle des Bouffons (1752-54). However, allow me to quote German scholar H. W. von Walthershausen:
“Rameau was the greatest ballet composer of all times. The genius of his creation rests on one hand on his perfect artistic permeation by folk-dance types, on the other hand on the constant preservation of living contact with the practical requirements of the ballet stage, which prevented an estrangement between the expression of the body from the spirit of absolute music.”
His ballets were suites (called “ordre” by François Couperin): gavottes, minuets, loures, rigaudons, passepieds, tambourins, and musettes. These pieces are usually gleaned from various folk dances, such as the Spanish and possibly Portuguese passacaglia.
Absolute music is self-referential. It excludes all pieces that have so much as a title, such as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Music that is not self-referential is called programmatic or program music.