Wundervölker, Monstrosität und Hässlichkeit im Mittelalter (German Edition)

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The dark browns or greens of the land, the blue and white of the sky above and the gold and pinks of a distant sunset or the black and red horrors of battle all have comparable contrasts in the music of Couperin.

Second livre de pièces de clavecin (Couperin, François)

He masters the harpsichord as Chopin masters the piano. With the publication of Book 1 in , Couperin assumed his rightful position in a tradition of Parisian harpsichord composition already in full flower and influential throughout Europe.

Francois Couperin 1st Book of Harpsichord Pieces, Chrisrophe Rousset 2/3

His earliest style is formed in the salon, theatre and church of Louis XIV. If he were not a genius, his music might have been pompous.

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If he were not a genius his works might have been precious and obscure. Thanks to that genius, he takes the language of the later 17th century to its highest level.


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At the same time, he hints that Paris is headed towards a great change in artistic values. His music parallels the exquisite melancholy of French painter Antoine Watteau and the virtuosity and wit of the pastel portraitist, Maurice Quentin La Tour, both younger contemporaries.

Harpsichord training method

For this recording, I have chosen Couperin at his most dramatic, powerful and often tragically brilliant. Let us remember that when he gathered the music for his first book of harpsichord works, he was amassing selections from over 20 years of composing. This is truly a retrospective collection of harpsichord pieces. Couperin deftly groups contrasting pairs, two allemandes, two courantes, two gigues, a few other dances and his great Passacaille, all coming together to make a work that is best heard in its entirety, from the first dark B minor chord to the last.

Harpsichordist - Musicologist - Organist

Couperin has written that he preferred that which moved him to that which surprised him. As we listen to his 27 Ordres we become more and more aware of how beautifully he uses one note, one unexpected ninth or melodic turn to allow the composition to transcend any suspicion of pretty banality.

It is noticeably more intense than the harpsichord by Delin. Knox is at his strongest in weaving contemporary evidence, modern scholarly views, and his personal insight into a colorful narrative.


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His notes benefit from both an awareness of the relevant literature and his rich experience as a performer of this music. It is somewhat misleading to focus the entire discussion on Versailles alone, as so much was taking place elsewhere. If the contrasts in tempi between movements seem moderate, he nevertheless displays a great variety in touch and spreading of the chords. The expressiveness of his playing is due partly to his intuitive shaping of lines and partly to his sensitive timing—fluidity is achieved without sacrificing rhythmic drive.

His ornamentation and varied repeats provide freshness. He makes full use of all registration possibilities for effective contrast. The G-minor key group, for instance, begins with the Prelude 2 x 8' with strong gestures in a declamatory style. This gives the effect of a two-manual instrument, and is possible—at least in live performance—only with the help of an extra hand.

Mutopia: List of all music

This lack of knowledge lends mystery and elusiveness both to his personality and to his music. Such elusiveness may be artistically beneficial, as it opens up a myriad of possibilities for the discerning performer.

To Huguette Dreyfus

He received his Ph. Gilbert recorded these albums in and , respectively. Items appearing in JSCM may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the Editor-in-Chief of JSCM.

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