By the time his Premier livre de pieces de clavecin was published in 1706, Rameau is 23-year old and he had succeeded Marchand as organist at the Jesuit college in the rue Saint-Jacques (the famous Collège Louis-le-Grand, the pupils of which at that time included his future collaborator Voltaire); he was also organist to the Pères de la Merci (Mercedarians). On 12 September 1706 he won a competition for the post of organist at Ste Madeleine-en-la-Cité, but when the judges learnt that he was unwilling to give up his other two posts they appointed Louis-Antoine Dornel. Rameau still held the same posts in July 1708.
This corpus of music, containing Rameau's first known compositions as well as works of his full maturity, naturally exhibits considerable development of style and approach. The 1706 book comprises a single suite much in the tradition of Lebègue, Louis Marchand and Gaspard Le Roux. Beginning with an old-fashioned, partly unmeasured prelude (one of the last of its kind printed in Rameau's day), it consists mainly of the standard dances – two allemandes, courante, gigue, two sarabandes, gavotte and menuet – and contains only one genre piece, ‘Vénitienne’.