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Couperin: Harpsichord Suites (Christophe Rousset)

2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Christophe Rousset
  • Composer: Louis Couperin
  • Audio CD (26 July 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Aparte
  • ASIN: B003EN2SAK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,896 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Harpsichord Suites - Christophe Rousset

Product Description

Christophe Rousset is one of the most brilliant harpsichordists of his generation, whose recordings have been hailed by the international press, including those of François Couperin for harmonia mundi. This is the first time he has recorded works by Louis Couperin. He preferred not to record the complete works, as he explains: For this recording, we have selected the very finest pieces by Louis Couperin. We ruled out the idea of performing all the pieces - that has already been done by some of our eminent colleagues. We did not want to have three Courantes in succession or a Chaconne and a Passacaille following each other in the same key, nor for the suites to be unnecessarily long, and lacking the coherence and pertinence that the form requires. Although the material available would have enabled us to put together several suites, we decided to present just one suite in F or in A. And generally we have followed the order of Parville rather than of Bauyn. Thus, I believe, the listener will be able to apprehend Louis Couperin at his most expressive, in the richness of his harmonies and rhetoric, and in the subtle contrasts that make him one of the most amazing precursors not only of his nephew François Couperin, le grand, but also of Jean-Baptiste Lully.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 9 Mar. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The music of Louis Couperin is perhaps less famous than that of his nephew Francois, to whom the nickname 'Le Grand' is often attached, but the older man, who actually died quite young, was a brilliant composer of unbridled passion. If anything his pieces sound wilder, more untrammelled than those of Francois, and his procedure reminds me of a baroque Schumann in his transport and freedom, setting up a rhapsodic, impassioned utterance that is a counterpart to Kreisleriana, say. It is as wild and free as that - in fact a French Amazon reviewer characterises him as sounding like a punk of his age, which makes sense when you hear these suites. The improvised feel of the Romantic composer is very apparent in a movement like the Tombeau de M. de Blancrocher from the first suite. The passacaglias and chaconnes have amazing emotional force which is fully brought out by the playing of Christophe Rousset. What immense feeling courses through his fingers, finding precision in the grace notes, but just the right waywardness in the rhythmic emphasis. In the Courante from the Suite in C, the chords seem to happen like a series of explosions, such is the vividness of the Louis Denis harpsichord from 1658 that he plays. The tuning seems a little strange at first, major thirds sounding a little under pitch, but you quickly get used to this way and it becomes part of the expressiveness. The instrument also has a superb fullness and resonance in the bass, so that the Passacaille that ends this same suite has a magnificent amplitude, which, given the recorded detail, sounds almost orchestral. The second disc is more familiar to me and so if anything sounds even more compelling, but however familiar one is or not, it is clear from the first note that this was a soul ablaze with a thirst for expression.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jesus M Sala Albéniz on 24 Feb. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very good music
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Uninspiring and Mechanical 19 Mar. 2012
By Redmond Geek - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Christophe Rousset's interpretation of Couperin is similar to his other recordings: Like something prouduced by a sewing machine. It's true that some of the dryness in the Couperin recording is due to the instrument he used; it's a very early French harpsichord, and its sound is somewhat "smokier" and thinner than later instuments. It takes some getting used to. But that doesn't account for the way Rousset bangs out continuous streams of notes without any concern for phrasing, or for the delicacy that one associates with this music. He just seems to want to get to the end of each piece as quickly as he can. As a listener, I'm equally glad when he finally stops.

For more musical versions of Couperin, check out the recording by Richard Egarr.Couperin: Pieces de Clavecin
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Muddy & dull 20 Aug. 2011
By arslonga - Published on
Format: Audio CD
A surprisingly unpersuasive performance that muddies music meant to be sparkling. Rousset's tempi are faster than his technical proficiency permits, so both the details and the overall structure of these suites get lost. Oddly, the playing is unidiomatic: these pieces are the pure distillate of French 18th-century gallantry, but from this performance, you couldn't tell what country produced them. Worse, the rushed tempi make all the pieces sound alike. To my mind, the best performance of these suites currently available is Baumont's, which is a bit dull, however. Perhaps distance blurs my memory, but I used to think Sylvia Marlowe's vinyl recording caught the courtly flourishes best.
3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
very nice performance 3 Mar. 2011
By Thomas Van Groen - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is a very nice performance by Rousset of some of the harpsichord suites of Couperin. Very nice listening.
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