Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other Couperin le Grand, 18 Oct 2011
By 
Stephen Midgley (Tarbrax, West Calder, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works (Audio CD)
This 4-disc set brings us the complete harpsichord music of Louis Couperin. It's an ambitious undertaking by Richard Egarr and Harmonia Mundi, some of which may well come as a revelation even to baroque fans already familiar with the music of the period. In his booklet notes Mr. Egarr makes bold claims for the quality of the music and for Louis Couperin's place in keyboard history - claims which, I suspect, you will readily swallow only if you've never heard of Byrd, Sweelinck, Cabezón, D'Anglebert, Handel or Louis' nephew François, let alone JSB. That is, until you've heard these discs - because, as very soon becomes evident, this is imaginative, original and deeply thoughtful music and, especially as performed here by Richard Egarr, a delight to both ear and spirit.

The 140 or so pieces left by Louis can be arranged into suites at the player's discretion and this is what Egarr has done, resulting here in around twenty suites - in the French style, obviously. Typically, each one opens with a free-ranging Prélude, followed by a number of dance movements such as allemande, courante and sarabande and often ending with a chaconne or passacaille. But make no mistake, in no way is this music routine, formulaic or predictable. A sampling of the very first suite on CD 1, in C major, will be enough to reveal the qualities of both Couperin's music and Egarr's performance - from the opening Prélude, played with insight, freedom and delicacy, and through the various dance movements, the music is touching, contemplative, imbued with deep inner thought and feeling. The suite ends with a Chaconne, one of many magnificent examples of the genre in this collection; Egarr's playing is quite captivating here - enhanced by the gentlest of hesitations and the subtlest of rubato, this is keyboard music and interpretation of the very highest quality.

Another suite well worth sampling would be that in F major at the beginning of the third CD. Here again, the Prélude takes many unexpected turns in the course of its sinuous progress, with Egarr's beautifully judged embellishments and gentle rubato in the dance movements constantly enhancing the sense of the unexpected. The soulful sequence of Sarabandes begins with a deceptively simple melody, and is followed by the short and cheerful uplift of the Gigue. Then comes a truly beautiful Chaconne - my favourite piece in this whole set in fact, if I had to choose one - its dark solemnity belying its major key, with Egarr's way of spreading out the chords impressing the music deep into the listener's consciousness. This wonderful piece in turn prepares the ground for the delicate sadness of the closing Tombeau de M. Blancrocher, written to mark the tragic death after a fall of the Parisian lutenist of that name.

Mr. Egarr shares out the music between two instruments, copies by Joel Katzman of 17th-century harpsichords - one of a Flemish Ruckers, the other of a Parisian instrument. The first is as sweet-sounding as can be, the second more incisive in tone, but both are superb instruments and ideally suited to the purpose. The recording, always a difficult balance to achieve, is excellent, and Mr. Egarr's booklet notes are fascinating. As far as I can tell there has been only one other complete survey of Louis' keyboard music on CD, by Davitt Moroney; it was highly regarded in its time but is no longer available. There are several other CDs available of selected suites and pieces, my favourites among the ones I know being by Gustav Leonhardt, Bob van Asperen and Huguette Grémy-Chauliac. But this complete set from Richard Egarr beats them all as far as I'm concerned; it's a bold project, quite beautifully executed, and altogether a wonderful as well as a well-priced offering to lovers of the baroque.

As for Louis Couperin's place in musical history - well, you'll want to judge this for yourself, but Richard Egarr's charismatic way with the keyboard certainly makes a brilliant case for it and wonderfully communicates his deep love of Louis' works. What I would say without a doubt, though, is that this is great music which, like Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier or Goldberg Variations, not only demands close attention but rewards it in full measure.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding set, 11 Nov 2012
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works (Audio CD)
This is a terrific recording of the whole of Louis Couperin's output for keyboard. It is wonderful music which has been somewhat unfairly overshadowed by that of his nephew, Francois. The pieces here have been arranged into the form of suites by Richard Egarr and form a delightful and very rewarding programme. It is some of the best and most inventive keyboard music of the 17th Century, and Richard Egarr does it proud.

Egarr is now well established as a giant of baroque performance as a conductor, in his wonderful partnership with Andrew Manze and as a keyboard player in his own right. This will only enhance his reputation: his playing is controlled, elegant and full of thought and insight. His ornamentation is perfectly judged and the whole effect is wonderful. It is helped by his careful choice of instruments of which he uses two here, both plucked by quills. Egarr explains in his excellent notes that quill is "so much more sensitive, flexible and musical," and you can hear this here. The effect is to make the instruments sound rich and often delicate - qualities not always evident in harpsichords. The sound is beautifully captured by Harmonia Mundi's recording.

I have a much-loved set of these works by the great Davitt Moroney Couperin;Cpte.Harpsichord, and this is at least its equal - I may even prefer it. This is an outstanding set, in my view, and very, very warmly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb musicianship, 9 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works (Audio CD)
This release is most welcome. I have the now discontinued complete works played by Moroney, and the two issues complement each other nicely. Moroney's courantes are lively and rythmic, skipping along like a child an a summer's day on the way home from school. Egarr's are taken at a more leisurely pace. In general Egarr lends more weight and nobility to the chaconnes and unmeasured preludes, whereas Moroney seems to hurry though them at times. The preludes are of course open to individual interpretation to some extent, and they sound completely different in the hands of these two wonderful artists. It is difficult to chose between them. Egarr makes a claim for Louis being the greatest harpsichord composer, and Egarr's love of this music is immediately apparent. It seems that Louis Couperin is at last being offorded the recognition he deserves, and is no longer referred to as being somehow less accomplished than his illustrious nephew.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent and comprehensive, 3 Oct 2011
By 
peter (SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works (Audio CD)
Not the best sound recording - very good but I prefer close-mic'ed - and also not as pondering and spacious as Laurence Cumming's highly enjoyable Naxos recording of Couperin - but nevertheless this is a highly enjoyable and well arranged set of discs. Egarr is right to say that Louis Couperin wrote the greatest harpsicord music ever, and here is the proof. The packaging is nice too, and comes with an insightful booklet. A must for lovers of Harpsicord music or Couperin.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Golden Stars - Richly Deserved., 31 Jan 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works (Audio CD)
Richar Egarr presents us with a comprehensive introduction in the liner notes. These fully explain his approach to this glorious music. The import of how he choose to have the Harpsichord strung with quill, shall not be lost on you, once you listen to this glorious work. His thoughts, as to how he arrived at the tuning of the harpsichord for this rich recording along with the former, equate to a perfect performance of this wonderful composition.

This is performance on harpsichord, is played as it should be. The Instruments performed on, are by Joel Katzman, and if Ruckers was present today, he would have been very generous with his approbation.

This is a 'oeuvre' that shall never be equalled. You cannot ask for more! This is the result of Richard submerging himself in the works of Louis Couperin, studying and analysing every nuance and detail, and then performing with such delicacy, that you wish for the music never to end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb5a1680c)

This product

Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works
Louis Couperin: Complete Keyboard Works by Richard Egarr (Harpsichord) (Audio CD - 2011)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews