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Couperin: Les Ombres Errantes / Iddo Bar-Shai

Couperin / Bar-shai
Release Date: 05/14/2013 
Label:  Mirare   Catalog #: 195   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



COUPERIN Les ombres errantes Iddo Bar-Shaï (pn) MIRARE 195 (70:00)


At the risk of being pilloried, I shall remark that no one does early 18th-century character pieces on the harpsichord better than François Couperin. His four books dating from 1713 to 1730 have a delightful, if sometimes obscurely titled, series of pieces that beg intent listening. What on earth, on may ask, are wandering shades (the title of this collection)? To be sure, there is the mythology of the newly dead waiting besides Read more the Styx, but here their meandering seems much more pleasant than whatever might (mythologically speaking) await them once they cross. Or take orchards in bloom, where the growth spurt inspires a second section of downright frolicking peasant dances. The “Tic-toc-choc” is a maniacal machine that churns along in perpetual motion, each upper stroke like the turning of a wheel, while the nightingale warbles along languidly with assorted twirling trills. All of this is the stuff that inspires harpsichordists to attempt their best at bringing out the inherent scenes depicted (some rather obliquely) in these pieces, and it goes without saying that there is a plethora of good recordings out there.


But, when a capable pianist such as Iddo Bar-Shaï takes on Couperin, one must confront the peculiar harpsichord nature of these pieces. The modern piano is far more expressive and capable of considerable nuance even without the ornamentation or phrasing, and it has several pedals that increase the possibilities. So, in a world that is awash in good representatives of harpsichord performance practice, how does this stack up? I would say extremely well, though with the caveat that if you can’t take Baroque music on a modern instrument, then this will probably have little appeal. For myself, his rendition makes Couperin unfold in a sonorous and expressive manner that brings a new light to interpreting these movements. Bar-Shaï’s fluid performance, with every ornament neatly and precisely in place, supports and illuminates them in a way that is like a gloss of decorative but pastel paint. While I will not replace my harpsichord discs, I find that this disc draws one in, demonstrating that Couperin is a viable composer for the modern piano, and Bar-Shaï does a splendid job. You can’t go wrong with such a finely-nuanced and expressive interpretation, even if it is not predicated upon the slippery notion of “authenticity.”


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 4: Ordre 25 in E flat major/C major/C minor - Les ombres errantes by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1730; Paris, France 
2.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 4: Ordre 25 in E flat major/C major/C minor - La misterieuse by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1730; Paris, France 
3.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 4: Ordre 21 in E minor - La petite pince-sans rire by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1730; Paris, France 
4.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 4: Ordre 20 in G major/G minor - Les tambourins by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1730; Paris, France 
5.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 19 in D minor/D major - La muse Plantine by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
6.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 18 in F minor/F major - Le tic-toc-choc ou Les maillotins by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
7.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 18 in F major/F minor - Soeur Monique by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
8.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 15 in A minor/A major - Les vergers fleüris by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
9.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 15 in A minor/A major - Le dodo ou l'amour au berceau by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
10.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 14 in D major/D minor - Le rossignol-en-amour by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
11.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 14 in D major/D minor - Double du rossignol by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
12.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 2: Ordre 7 in G major/G minor - La muse naissante by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Paris, France 
13.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 2: Ordre 7 in G major/G minor - L'enfantine by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Paris, France 
14.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 2: Ordre 6 in B flat major- Les langueurs by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Paris, France 
15.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 2: Ordre 6 in B flat major - La Commère by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Paris, France 
16.
Pièces de clavecin, Book 1: Ordre 5 in A major/A minor - La logiviére by François Couperin
Performer:  Iddo Bar-Shai (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1713; Paris, France 

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