This beautiful recording, once long out-of-print, is now remastered in high definition multi-channel hybrid SACD, and is the first album made by Jordi Savall for the Astrée label, now reissued on Alia Vox. With this rare 1975 disc, Savall confirmed François Couperin as a master composer for viola da gamba with affinities to the previous masters of French music. On the recording Mr. Savall plays an authentic 7-string bass viol, anonymously constructed in 17th century France. He is joined by musicians Ton Koopman playing a Gilbert des Ruisseaux harpsichord built in the late 17th century and Ariane Maurette playing a Barak Norman bass viol constructed in London in 1697. Couperin’s music for these colorful instruments is marvelous, contemplative and beguiling. The highly collectible album, a must-have of the Savall oeuvre, is now available again and features a very informative booklet.
Original released by Auvidis France in 1986. This reissue released by Auvidis-Naïve in 2000 (ES 9956). Couperin places himself between the Italian and French musical styles of his day to create something rather greater than either. For the most part early works, these sonatas with dance suites combine the style of Lully and Louis XIV's court with Corelli's brilliance: the result is a Grand Tour of the high Baroque, given, s'il vous plait, with a French accent. Savall's rendition, true to form, is dark, elegant, and supple. He assigns the trio-sonata texture to differing combinations of violins, oboes, and traversi, all with a large and inspired continuo group. Performers: Monica Huggett, Chiara Banchini, Ton Koopman, Hopkinson Smith, Stephen Preston, Ku Ebbinge &c. Highly recommended.
Couperin’s Trois Leçons de Ténèbres are amongst the small amount of the composer’s sacred music that was published during his lifetime. They are intensely personal, depicting the prophet Jeremiah’s bitter anguish in settings that are quite unique. Also included here are Couperin’s joyful motets Laetentur caeli and Venite, exsultemus Domino, and a remarkable Magnificat.
When he published his two Apothéoses in memory of two great masters of music in 1724-25, François Couperin was asserting his desire to promote a meeting of the French and Italian styles – from a very Gallic point of view, naturally. The idea was to convince the French Muses that henceforth one could say sonade and cantade in their language – a strategy already pursued in the much earlier La Sultane and La Superbe. But, far from blindly imitating his idols, Couperin takes inspiration from their styles and adapts them to his own brio. The result is a delight for all to share with the musicians of Gli Incogniti and Amandine Beyer, whose first harmonia mundi recording this is.
Blandine Verlet is one of the last living legends of the harpsichord. After a few years of absence from the recording studio, she makes her debut here on the Aparte label with a program dedicated to the harpsichord music of Francois Couperin. Recorded on a sumptuous Hemsch instrument from 1751, the set includes a fascinating selection of Ordres (suites), some of which eschew the commonly used Baroque dances and substitute movements with programmatic titles such as ''Les Amusements,'' ''Les Chinois,'' ''La Convalescente'' and ''La Visionnaire.'' The cover of the disc features a highly evocative portrait of Verlet by the American painter H. Craig Hanna.
Philippe Pierlot and his superb Ricercar Consort present tributes to both Corelli and Lully with the two Apothéoses by François Couperin, written in the memory of Arcangelo Corelli and Jean-Baptiste Lully respectively. Behind them is an aesthetic programme: they are a plea for the mixture of the Italian and the French style, the so-called goûts réunis. The ensemble consists of Marc Hantaï and Georges Barthel (transverse flutes), François Fernandez and Sophie Gent (violins), Philippe Pierlot (viola da gamba), Eduardo Egüez (theorbo and guitar) and François Guerrier (harpsichord). Both pieces are given lively and expressive interpretations: Couperin's Apothéoses are in the tradition of the tombeau, and therefore the Tombeau de Monsieur de Lully by Jean-Féry Rebel fits well into the programme and is performed in between the two pieces by Couperin.
Hailed for his “revelatory” account of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (The New York Times), Richard Egarr turns to one of the least known collections for solo harpsichord. This complete recording of the solo oeuvre of Louis Couperin (c.1626-1661) revels in his full harmonic and contrapuntal textures, marked by a poignant use of dissonance – music that entrances the ear!
Leonhardt's performances of Louis Couperin's works have long been particularly admired, and here he does not disappoint. He seems to relish the expressive opportunities afforded by the Prelude and in the lyrical Allemande conveys a precious element of nostalgia hidden within the dance. The first Courante conjures up vivid images of dancers, so physical are his perfectly timed lifts, reminding us that when Louis Couperin was composing, dancing was still very much a live tradition, practised by all courtiers, not just the professionals at the Opera. From the first statement of the concluding Chaconne (as admirable for its craftsmanship and inspiration as Couperin's unmeasured Prelude) the listener is drawn willingly into its inexorable ebb and flow […]
– Gramophone [7/1988]