- Audio CD (Aug. 31 2018)
- Original Release Date: Aug. 31 2018
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: harmonia mundi
- ASIN: B07D2XPGYD
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,365 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Louis Couperin: Nouvelles Suites De Clavecin
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Audio CD, Aug 31 2018
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The new Stradivari series from harmonia mundi allows listeners to explore the unique instruments lovingly preserved at the Philharmonie de Paris's Museum of Music. Thanks to the skill and commitment of the museum's conservators, these instruments are given a new life. On this release, the great Christophe Rousset plays a rare harpsichord crafted in 1652 by Ioannes Couchet. Through his virtuosity and the instruments sonority the sumptuousness and grace of Louis Couperin's Nouvelles Suites are clearly revealed.
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The result, in the case of the present set, is simply magnificent. Rousset is an absolute master of the French baroque keyboard, and he delivers the suites of movements with the reflective and heartfelt gravity that they deserve. The performance of French keyboard music can be both problematic and extremely demanding of players, because of the need to strike a balance between executing the appropriately stylish trills and other embellishments, and at the same time integrating these into the metre of a dance movement so as to produce a fluent and natural-sounding whole. Not all performers of the genre manage this feat with distinction, but Rousset masters the technique to perfection. He also enjoys the great asset of a truly splendid instrument built in 1652 by Ioannes Couchet, successor to the Ruckers family of Antwerp. The recorded sound is quite admirable.
Louis Couperin’s work, while often vigorous and energetic in the livelier dance measures, is at its very best in the solemn unmeasured Preludes, Sarabandes and Chaconnes, and there are ample examples of all these forms in the present set. Rousset, in his turn, is at his very best in such movements. By comparison Richard Egarr’s 4-disc recording of Louis’ complete keyboard works, issued in 2011, is also very fine; but the present set, while of course offering a more limited selection of works, is even better in my view. In fact I’d go as far as to say that this Rousset set offers the finest performance of this great composer’s keyboard works that I have yet heard.
The booklet offers the player’s thoughts on the composer, technique and chosen instrument in the form of an extended interview, as well as a separate essay on the composer and his music. Both sections offer considerable and valuable insights and form a very useful complement to the recorded music. There are also good photos of the Couchet instrument. Altogether, this is an absolutely superb set which is sure to delight baroque keyboard enthusiasts.