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François & Louis Couperin: Pièces De Clavecin / Leonhardt


Release Date: 05/15/2008 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 420939   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  François CouperinLouis CouperinArmand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Gustav Leonhardt's playing has always symbolized what is most admirable about authentic period performance; technical precision wielded with musical conviction and a good knowledge of his sources. Inevitably, there has been a certain sobriety about it—partly associated with his Netherlandish heritage, partly the result of the mantle he has borne with such integrity. Now he has arrived at a stage in his career when he feels able to shrug off what are, in a refined sense, limitations and to play with a newfound freedom and delight: the music fairly sparkles under his fingers on this new recording of pieces by members of the Couperin family.

Leonhardt's performances of Louis Couperin's works have long been particularly admired,
Read more 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.

The complete preludes from Francois Couperin's L'art de toucher—a rarity indeed—present a full array of the gestures associated with the introduction to a suite. Here, as in No. 3, the Prelude itself almost dances; there, as in No. 8, Couperin alludes to the repeating patterns of a passecaille or a chaconne, elsewhere, as in Nos. 1 and 7, he writes out what his uncle would have left halfnotated, expecting the player to convey it—as Leonhardt does so brilliantly—in an improvisatory style. The minor-key preludes range in their emotional intensity (No. 1 is pensive, No. 2 is truly poignant), while those in major keys project the external world (there is, for example, an almost rustic effect created by the interior pedal notes in No. 5).

Though Francois Couperin's Ordre 15 has been recorded before, this is a performance to treasure for the sublime calm of Le Dodo, the delightfully effervescent articulation of L'evaporee and the elegance of La Princesse de Chabeiul. Leonhardt concludes this Couperin family album with three richly textured pieces by Armand-Louis, contrasting cheerful forthrightness in L'intrepide, with its analogue the rondeau that follows—and concluding with the cheeky Arlequine. All in all, quite a revelation, reaffirming Leonhardt's place at the heart of the early-music performance movement.

-- Gramophone [7/1988]
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Works on This Recording

1. Pièces de clavecin, Book 3: Ordre 15 in A minor/A major by François Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1722; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/1987 
Venue:  Haarlem, The Netherlands 
Length: 20 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2. L'art de toucher le clavecin by François Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1716; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/1987 
Venue:  Haarlem, The Netherlands 
Length: 13 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3. Pièces de clavecin: Suite in D minor by Louis Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 05/1987 
Venue:  Haarlem, The Netherlands 
Length: 20 Minutes 21 Secs. 
4. Pièces de clavecin: L'intrépide by Armand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Date of Recording: 05/1987 
Venue:  Haarlem, The Netherlands 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
5. Pièces de clavecin: Rondeau "L'Arlequine ou la Adam" by Armand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1751; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/1987 
Venue:  Haarlem, The Netherlands 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
6. Pièces de clavecin: Rondeau "L'Arlequine ou la Adam" by Armand-Louis Couperin
Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1751; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/1987 
Venue:  Haarlem, The Netherlands 

Sound Samples

Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 1. Prélude
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 2. Allemande
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 3. Courante
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 4. Courante
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 5. Sarabande
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 6. Sarabande
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 7. La pastorella
Pièces de clavecin, Suite in D minor: 8. Chaconne
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Premier prélude (C major)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Second prélude (D minor)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Troisième prèlude (G minor)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Quatrième prélude (F major)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Cinquème prélude (A major)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Sixième prélude (B minor)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Septième prélude (B flat major)
L'art de toucher le clavecin: Huitième prélude (E minor)
Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre / 15e ordre: La régente ou la Minerve
Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre / 15e ordre: Le dodo ou L'amour au berçeau
Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre / 15e ordre: L'evaporée
Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre / 15e ordre: La douce et piquante
Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre / 15e ordre: Les vergers fleüris
Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre / 15e ordre: La Princess de Chabeüil ou La Muse de Monaco
Pièces de clavecin: 6. L'Intrépide
Pièces de clavecin: 24. Rondeau gracieux
Pièces de clavecin: 9. L'Arlequine ou la Adam

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