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
Les Nations, Premier Ordre: La Francoise:
Pieces de Clavecin
Les Nations, Troisieme Ordre: L’Imperiale:
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Catalogue No: TOCC0258EAN/UPC: 5060113442581Release Date: 01.08.2016Composer: François Couperin Artists: Emer Buckley,
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Bertil van Boer :
“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.” —Fanfare Magazine, January/February 2017
Pamela Hickman :
“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’s Blog, January 2017
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