Livres de clavecin, Book 2, 8th Ordre B minor. L' Art de toucher le clavecin, Prelude No. The all-time greats Read about the artists who changed the world of classical music.
Crystalline sound of the past
Gramophone's expert reviews easier than ever before. It seems clear that from the second book on, Couperin fully intended that each ordre should be performed complete. Although the earliest ordres include a number of generally tiny abstract movements in the traditional dance forms, the bulk of Couperin's harpsichord music consists of the kind of genre piece much loved by French Baroque composers.
These works range in size from little portraits lasting less then two minutes to large-scale structures playing for up to 10 minutes. They cover an astonishingly wide variety of topics and moods, ranging from pen-portraits generally of women, who have by no means all been positively identified through the many pieces with theatrical connections, to nature descriptions and miniature tone poems depicting one or more moods.
One of the most salient characteristics is the Watteauesque feeling of ambiguity so often conveyed, that feeling of melancholy lying beneath the mask of gaiety.
Yet along with this, there are pieces that are unambiguously witty, grandly majestic, sensual, or. Borgstede proves himself technically excellently equipped to cope with such varying demands.
His fingerwork is strong, allowing him to execute Couperin's more virtuosic music, often of toccata-like character, with a fluency and keen rhythmic articulation that rarely goes astray. More important, he has thoroughly assimilated the French keyboard style, recognizing the integral importance of the profuse ornamentation, which is played with a clarity that never obscures the composer's sometimes-dense counterpoint.
Rameau’s Nephew - Le Neveu de Rameau
Borgstede also proves himself capable of being a poet, playing some of the more restrained pieces with an inner concentration and sensitivity that are richly rewarding. Inevitably, with a project of this size, there are going to be times when a critic will part company with the performer. In some of the earlier orders particularly, tempos sometimes feel just that bit rushed Borgstede's tempos throughout Book 1 are consistently quicker than those of Christophe Rousset on Harmonia Mundi ; in a few instances there is the feeling that the player is skating over the surface of the music, probably inevitable in a project of this size; and there are a few question marks over such matters as registration and the use of rubato.
But these are mostly subjective matters that certainly do not detract from the deep integrity so obviously engrained in the performances. Employing French unequal temperament tunings, Borgstede utilizes two instruments, a colorfully sonorous instrument based on a Johann Ruckers of for the first three books, while for Book 4 he moves to a lighter-toned copy of a Hemsch of , both the work of Titus Crijnen.
At first I found the Hemsch a little lightweight after the richness of the Ruckers, but became accustomed to it, and it is suited to some of the more galant pieces that pervade the earlier ordres of Book 4. The following are brief comments on individual books culled from my extensive notes: There is little doubt that Couperin is now conceiving each ordre as a thematic entity. It opens with Ordre 14, devoted to the sights and sounds of nature.
Le rossignol-en-amour i is an intensely poetic nocturnal, droopingly romantic in a beauty realized with sensitivity by Borgstede, although I'm not sure why he felt the necessity to slow up at the end of each section.
Couperin, Franзois 'Le Grand'
Ordre 15 is pervaded by a rustic quality, but also includes La douce et piquante xviii , another elegiac, romantic piece, while No. With ordre 19 Couperin moves into the world of the theater and burlesque, pieces to which Borgstede responds with verve and wit, but which also includes such infinitely sad pieces as La muse-plantine vi. The opening ordres Nos. But as ever with him, there are exceptions.
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La reine des coeurs No. The final three ordres may be seen as a summation of Couperin's keyboard music. Wisely, Borgstede took his time over this huge body of music, recording it in five groups of sessions spread over 15 months.
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Adopting a similar policy, I extended my assessment over the whole of one reviewing cycle, returning to it with increasing anticipation after interspersing it with other assignments. However, Christie asked him to become his musical assistant, which required him to prepare his choir and orchestra. That led to conducting some concerts. I understand them and I always support them; as I myself have no voice, I feel I have to sing through their voices.
He began to think it was time to create his own ensemble so he would be free to choose his own repertoire, performers and singers. Les Talens Lyriques was born in , deriving its name from the subtitle of one of Rameau's operas, Les Fetes d'Hebe Curious to taste. While keen to see some of the country's landscapes, he would not have much time for sightseeing. And someone told me that in Otago the concert hall has an acoustic comparable to Amsterdam's Concertgebouw; exciting. The group will perform a varied programme of suites, sonatas and character pieces reflecting the time of the court of France's Louis XIV, the Sun King.
When not playing or conducting, he liked to teach. He conducted and organised master classes and academies for young people across Europe. To learn the harpsichord took patience, good ears, a sense of challenge and enormous imagination, he said. He and Les Talens also worked to introduce young secondary school pupils in Paris to the world of music. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed. Skip to main content. Thursday, 7 April Internationally acclaimed harpsichordist Christophe Rousset.
Related Pièces de clavecin 7th ordre, Les Amusemens - Harpsichord
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