François Couperin

(Paris, 1668-1733)

Another great name in Baroque Europe, François Couperin, (nicknamed appropriately ‘Le Grand’ in part to distinguish him from his uncle called the ‘l’Ancien’) was born from a stock of musicians, like Bach, an admirer of his music and with whom he maintained a epistolary correspondence, unfortunately since lost. Even François began his studies in his family, demonstrating his exceptional talent at any early age which led him to a rapid cursus honorum, right up to the court of Louis the XIV. From here thanks to his rather withdrawn character that did not solicit jealousy or bloody rivalries he could concentrate serenely on his composing.

For the most part, the name Couperin is associated with the harpsichord, for which most of his music was written. His work is ordered in 27 ‘ordres’ (similar to the  ‘suites’ of German musicians).

His elegant scripture, perfect mastering of technique, a refined poetry and, in a word, so delightfully ‘French’,  his very personal style, make him, along with Rameau, one of the greatest masters of French and European Baroque music – tout court.

His pieces often bear subtitles some charming and allusive, like  ‘L’enchanteresse’; ‘La fleurie, ou La tendre Nanette’, ‘Les barricades mystérieuses’, ‘Les idées heureuses’. Couperin also left chamber music (the Sonatas in trio), and some sacred music among which are two extremely beautiful masses accompanied by organ.

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