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Couperin: Barricades Mystérieuses, Pièces de Clavecin
Francois Couperin, Blandine Verlet
Couperin: Barricades Mystérieuses, Pièces de Clavecin
Genre: Classical
 
As the foremost representative of one of the most illustrious musical dynasties in history, François Couperin achieved distinction in every contemporary genre except opera. But it was in his pieces for the harpsichord that...  more »

      
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As the foremost representative of one of the most illustrious musical dynasties in history, François Couperin achieved distinction in every contemporary genre except opera. But it was in his pieces for the harpsichord that he revealed his personality -- La Couperin, from the 21st Ordre, is a witty self-portrait (marked "with moderate vivacity"!). Couperin also showed in his four Livres de Clavecin in 27 Ordres that he was interested in every aspect of his times, from the great personages at court whom he frequented as music master to the royal family (Les Lis Naissans, an evocation for the twelve-year-old Louis XV) to the delights of childhood (Les Petits Ages), not to mention satire of the parochial quarrels of musicians (Les Fastes de la Grande et Ancienne Ménéstrandise) and the taste for pastoral (Les Bergeries). Even when the hidden meanings of those intriguing titles escapes us (what are the beguiling Baricades Mistérieuses or the Tic-Toc-Choc?), or when abstract music claims its share of attention, as in the majestic Passacaille, we are as fascinated as ever by this kaleidoscope of colors and styles. "I should never have thought my Pieces would achieve immortality," wrote the composer in the preface to his Third Book. But that is precisely what has happened.
 

CD Reviews

MAJESTIQUE
DAVID BRYSON | Glossop Derbyshire England | 05/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Two things I had to adapt to on this recording were first the amount of rhythmic inflection that Mme Verlet deploys, particularly in Barricades itself, and second the powerful tone of the three harpsichords used -- I find I need a fairly low volume-setting. Two and maybe all three of these are contemporary with the composer, depending on whether the French means that the Porteous instrument used in Barricades and Bergeries, or only the instrument it is modelled on, is from the late 17th century, so the effect must be authentic. Having once adapted, I am enjoying this recital more and more. The pieces are delightful and the playing reminds me more of Landowska than of some other harpsichordists I know. There is plenty of variety and colour in the registration once I had got used to the heavyweight instruments, but it is never flash in the manner of Malcolm (not that I mind that in the least). What I do protest about is the liner notes which are a right old load of air chaud, strictly le guff. A disc of this distinction deserves serious and informative comment. I shall have to look for this elsewhere, but I can forgive the liner because of the beautiful Vermeer on the front of the disc as issued in Europe."
A Wonderful CD
William H. C. Congdon | Santa Fe, NM USA | 08/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A wonderful CD once you turn down the volume. It is right up there at the top of my favorite harpsicord records list with Hantai's Goldbergs and Scarlatti Sonatas. Endlessly fascinating music and oh, so French!"