François Couperin: Music For Two Harpsichords, Volume Two

Catalogue No: TOCC0258
EAN/UPC: 5060113442581
Release Date: 2016-08-01
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 albums to be taken up in recordings. 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.

Emer Buckley and Jochewed Schwarz, harsichords

Listen To This Recording:

    Concerts Royaux, Quatrieme Concert:

  1. No. X Forlane, Rondeau
  2. Les Nations, Premier Ordre: La Francoise:

  3. I Gravement – Gayement – Rondement – Gayement – Gravement
  4. II Allemande. Sans lenteur
  5. III Premiere Courante. Noblement
  6. IV Seconde Courante. Un peu plus viste
  7. V Sarabande. Gravement
  8. VI Gigue. Gayement
  9. VII Chaconne ou Passacaille. Moderement – Vif, et marque
  10. VIII Gavotte
  11. IX Menuet
  12. Pieces de Clavecin

  13. second livre, Neuvieme Ordre: I Allemande a deux Clavecins
  14. troisieme livre, Quinzieme Ordre: IV Musete de Choisi
  15. troisieme livre, Quinzieme Ordre: V Musete de Taverni
  16. Les Nations, Troisieme Ordre: L’Imperiale:

  17. I Gravement – Vivement et marque – Gravement, et marque
  18. II Allemande. Sans lenteur
  19. III Courante
  20. IV Seconde Courante. Plus marquee
  21. V Sarabande. Tendrement
  22. VI Bouree. Gayement
  23. VII Gigue. D’une legerete moderee
  24. VII Rondeau. Gayement
  25. VII Chaconne
  26. VIII Menuet

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

  1. :

    ‘Both harpsichordists merge into one soundscape, powerful and in step completely with each other. The nature of the works demands utmost concentration and attention to detail, particularly since the two instruments have to coordinate both ornamentation and phrasing, not to mention the various stops to vary the texture and sound. Here, this is managed with complete control. The sound is robust, never fragile, not to mention noble, as befits the music. It is a perfect way to immerse oneself in that bygone age of French musical style, and even if Couperin himself was occasionally attempting to slip some Italian nuances into the works, it is as thorough a representation of the power of the French state musical establishment as one could want.’

    —Bertil van Boer, Fanfare Magazine, January/February 2017

  2. :

    ‘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

  3. :

    ‘The performances are engaging and lively, sounding like friends having a good time. […]

    Overall, this is graceful and pleasant, an important addition to the Couperin discography.’

    —Bradley Lehman, American Record Guide, January 2017

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