François Couperin: Music for Two Harpsichords, Volume One

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Catalogue No: TOCC0203
EAN/UPC: 5060113442031
Release Date: 2014-07-07
Composer: François Couperin
Artists: Emer Buckley, Jochewed Schwarz

François Couperin published two collections of chamber music — the Concerts Royaux in 1722 and Les Nations in 1726 — in what today would be called open scoring, so that they could be performed by whatever instruments were to hand. But he confessed in the preface to a later publication that he himself preferred to perform them on two harpsichords, although that suggestion had to wait for this series of two CDs to be taken up in a recording. Here Les Nations and movements from the Concerts Royaux are presented with a number of his Pièces de clavecin, also in rarely heard realisations for two harpsichords.

Jochewed Schwarz, harpsichord
Emer Buckley, harpsichord

Listen To This Recording:

    Les Nations, Quatrième Ordre: La Piémontoise (1726)

  1. I Gravement, et rondement –
  2. Vivement –
  3. Gravement, notes égales et rondement –
  4. Vivement, et marqué –
  5. Air, Gracieusement –
  6. Second Air –
  7. Air, Gracieusement –
  8. Gravement, et marqué –
  9. Légèrement
  10. II Allemande. Noblement, et sans lenteur
  11. III Courante
  12. IV Seconde Courante. Un peu plus gayëment
  13. V Sarabande. Tendrement
  14. VI Rondeau. Gayëment
  15. VII Gigue. Affectuëusement; quoy-que légérement
  16. Pièces de Clavecin, Second Livre: Sixième Ordre (1717): V Les Baricades Miste?rieuses. Vivement
  17. Concerts Royaux, Premier Concert (1722): VI Menuet en Trio
  18. Pièces de Clavecin, Troisième Livre: Seizième Ordre (1722): VII La Létiville
  19. Les Nations, Second Ordre: L’Espagnole (1726)

  20. I Gravement, et mesuré –
  21. Vivement –
  22. Affectuëusement –
  23. Légèrement – repos –
  24. Gayément – repos –
  25. Air tendre –
  26. Vivement, et marqué (Badinage pour le clavecin, si l’on veut)
  27. II Allemande. Gracieusement
  28. III Courante. Noblement
  29. IV Seconde courante. Un peu plus vivement
  30. V Sarabande. Gravement
  31. VI Gigue Lourée. Modérèment
  32. VII Gavotte. Tendrement, sans lenteur
  33. VIII Rondeau. Affectuëusement
  34. IX Bourée. Gayëment. Double de la Bourée précédente
  35. X Passacaille. Noblement et marqué
  36. Pièces de Clavecin, Troisième Livre: Quatorzième Ordre (1722): VI La Julliet. Gayëment
  37. Concerts Royaux, Troisième Concert (1722): VI Muzette. Naïvement

3 reviews for François Couperin: Music for Two Harpsichords, Volume One

  1. :

    ‘…Considering the indications by Couperin and some of his contemporaries it is rather surprising that so few recordings of this kind have been made as yet. Le Roux’s suites have been recorded on two harpsichords, but not – as far as I know – by an instrumental ensemble, and the four Ordres which were published as Les Nations have been recorded here for the first time on two harpsichords. If one knows these pieces in performances by an instrumental ensemble a performance like this is something one has to get used to. However, that doesn’t take much time if they are played as here by Jochewed Schwarz and Emer Buckley. These are engaging interpretations by congenial partners on two harpsichords by the same builder, Von Nagel in Paris, in whose workshop the recording was made.’

    —Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘… The playing by harpsichordists Jochewed Schwarz and Emer Buckley is finely matched. Both blend well with each other and provide a strong, virile performance that brings the nuances and ornaments of Couperin’s music to life. One can see through their interplay why the composer considered this his ideal performance medium. Since this is billed as the first volume of a series, I for one am looking forward to the rest. In my opinion, this is the way I would conceive the composer presenting his works to the highest French nobility, leaving the more generic instrumentation to lesser gens.’

    —Bertil van Boer, Fanfare Magazine

  3. :

    ‘This being the background to the ordres [“Les Nationas”], Schwarz and Buckley’s performance of them does not endeavour to layer them with extra-musical conjectures – political, sociological or otherwise. In their playing of the opening movements of each, Schwarz and Buckley present the flamboyance, fast mood changes, piquant dissonances, contrasts and forthright character of Italian music and with some lively, gregarious ornamenting. Moving into the French agenda of each ordre, the artists then offer sympathetic- and indeed pleasingly stylistic readings of the dances, also rich in agréments. With Schwarz and Buckley’s absolute precision and superb synchronization never sounding pedestrian, they display the noble elegance of this courtly music in playing that is fresh and vigorous, exposing the music’s interest, rhetoric and rhythmic ideas. … Buckley and Schwarz offer stylish performances of some of its delightful miniatures [“Concerts Royaux”], calling attention to their opulence, their sense of joy and wit. … Corresponding to the candid, full touch of both artists, the sound quality of the two CDs is true and engaging, offering the listener a lively listening experience. Written by both players, the liner notes accompanying both CDs are highly informative both musically and biographically.’

    —Pamela Hickman, Pamela Hickman’s Blog

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