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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
To our modern minds, the idea of not holding on tightly to one's own intellectual property is a complete anathema. By the same turn, artistic works that can't be indisputably attributed to a single named creator are mysteries to be solved rather than accepted. However, while plagiarism was beginning to become a concept during the seventeenth century, an artist was still only likely to see it as an important issue if they were planning to publish their works for commercial gain. If not, and if they were part of a collaborative family musical dynasty, it was much less of a thing to get hot under the collar about. Apply that background now to the Bauyn manuscript – one of the most important sources for French 17th century harpsichord music – and you begin to understand how some of the greatest jewels are, rather frustratingly, attributable to a single “Monsieur Couperin”, rather than to one of the three Couperin brothers operating in that period: Louis (1626-1661), François I (1631-1710) and Charles (1638-1679) whose son was the famous François Couperin. Because while these works have mostly been attributed to the one with the most glittering career as a harpsichordist, Louis, more recent research suggests he's not a good match for every piece. Instead, they're more likely to be a mixture of Louis and Charles, with perhaps the odd piece from the slightly less gifted François I. Hence the title of this Couperin-shaped offering from Brice Sailly, recorded in May 2020 at the Château de Mongeroult on a copy of a Tibaut de Toulouse harpsichord. This programme's scholarly contribution lies less in making hard and fast pronouncements on authorship, and more in drawing our attentions to the fact that the programme's pieces are likely to be the work of more than one Couperin; all while employing the numbering given to them in Bruce Gustavson's edition of the Bauyn manuscript. All of which may sound rather academic to the average listener, but it's interesting the extent to which awareness of that context does add to the listening experience. Plus, it's good news when it comes to how it actually sounds. For starters, the overall capturing is lovely, giving us a nice, up-close and natural, but also polished sound. Then Sailly's readings themselves are thoroughly ear-grabbing, with the fluidity of his shapings and the range of his expression. From the gossamer-weighted high-register wistfulness of La Pastourelle, to the dark, sighing beauty of the Pavane in F-sharp minor with its fuller textures, to the bright ceremonial grandeur of La Piétmontoise, this should appeal whether you're new to this repertoire, or simply wishing to hear it with new ears. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released June 23, 2010 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
The organ music of Louis Couperin, an uncle of François, clearly pointed toward the French High Baroque style and has received a good number of recordings, but his harpsichord music is less fortunate. This is largely because they're imperfectly understood, at both the macro and micro levels. This release by celebrated French keyboardist Christophe Rousset contains half a dozen works designated as suites, but those are entirely his own creation. They exist only in manuscript, grouped mostly by dance rhythm; there are some ground bass pieces and some preludes without bar lines in a separate group. These are the subject of interpretive speculation, as well, and when Couperin's music began to come to light there were some rather woolly versions. Rousset's playing might be described as sensible, and it makes a good place to start for those curious about the sources of the highly stylized French harpsichord music of the early 18th century. Rousset assembles the pieces logically into suites in the same key, beginning with one of the preludes, followed by several dances, and concluding mostly with a passacaille (passacaglia) or chaconne. His playing is stately and rather sober throughout, doing nothing radical with the preludes but letting them set the tone for the rest of the music. Rousset arranges the dances so as to highlight one of the most attractive features of Couperin's music: its occasional tendency toward harmonic shock. Best of all, he uses an unusually old instrument, a 1658 harpsichord that fits the music to a T with its plummy, rather quiet, yet muscular sound. The music here is not François Couperin in chrysalis, but has distinctive charms of its own, and Rousset has done as well as anyone in getting at them. Booklet notes are in French and English. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released August 31, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
With these recordings which mark the launch of the Stradivari collection, discover the unique instruments lovingly preserved at the Philharmonie de Paris's Museum of Music: the finest examples of the art of instrument-making which, like the iconic harpsichord crafted in 1652 by Ioannes Couchet, are given a new life thanks to the skill and commitment of its keen conservators. When this 'national treasure' is entrusted into the hands of an expert like Christophe Rousset, the magic is evident. As the sumptuous sonority of Louis Couperin's music is revealed, poetry meets fantasy.
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Chamber Music - Released September 17, 2004 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Let's just admit it: Skip Sempé is one of the greatest harpsichordists in the world. His technique is staggering. His intelligence is stunning. His tone is commanding. His interpretations are compelling. His instincts are unerring. His intensity is unrelenting. In his many recordings for the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Astree labels, the New Orleans-born Sempé has demonstrated that he is the heir as well as the student of Gustav Leonhardt. In this 2004 Alpha recording, Sempé performs a program of six suites plus a Pavanne by Louis Couperin. The music is noble, playful, mournful, sometimes suggestive, sometimes savage, and always virtuosic. Sempé gets it, all of it, and plays it with everything he's got. Although there have been notable recordings of Louis Couperin's harpsichord music in the past -- notably Davitt Moroney's magnificent, complete Pieces de Clavecin -- one has to go back to Leonhardt's magisterial 1968 and 1980 recordings to hear Couperin played with this kind of conviction and inner compulsion. Alpha's sound is completely translucent and absolutely real. © TiVo
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Classical - Released December 3, 2009 | Ricercar

Booklet
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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 1990 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released June 11, 2019 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released March 26, 2010 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Chamber Music - Released November 1, 1995 | Tempéraments - Radio France

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Alpha

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique - Choc du Monde de la Musique
Let's just admit it: Skip Sempé is one of the greatest harpsichordists in the world. His technique is staggering. His intelligence is stunning. His tone is commanding. His interpretations are compelling. His instincts are unerring. His intensity is unrelenting. In his many recordings for the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Astree labels, the New Orleans-born Sempé has demonstrated that he is the heir as well as the student of Gustav Leonhardt. In this 2004 Alpha recording, Sempé performs a program of six suites plus a Pavanne by Louis Couperin. The music is noble, playful, mournful, sometimes suggestive, sometimes savage, and always virtuosic. Sempé gets it, all of it, and plays it with everything he's got. Although there have been notable recordings of Louis Couperin's harpsichord music in the past -- notably Davitt Moroney's magnificent, complete Pieces de Clavecin -- one has to go back to Leonhardt's magisterial 1968 and 1980 recordings to hear Couperin played with this kind of conviction and inner compulsion. Alpha's sound is completely translucent and absolutely real. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 6, 2011 | harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released October 20, 2000 | Warner Classics

Like the Bach family, the Couperin were a musical dynasty. Louis - the uncle of François ‘le Grand’ had established himself as organist of St Gervais by the mid-1650s and entering royal service shortly after as ‘chamber musician’ on the treble viol. He went on to become one of the most original and individual keyboard composers in France. Despite a short carrier – he died early in 1661 at the age of just thirty-five - he left more than 120 harpsichord pieces and 70 works for organ – most of them discovered in the 60’s – which highlight his refined genius of colour and counterpoint. Netherlands-born harpsichordist and organist Jan-Willem Jansen studied with Ton Koopman in Amsterdam and is now established in France. He created the Ancient Music Department of the Toulouse Conservatory. His compatriot Bob van Asperen (b. 1947) studied with Gustav Leonhardt and is highly regarded in the field of 17th and 18th century music as a specialist keyboard performer. © Warner Classics
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Classical - Released May 27, 1994 | Naxos

Booklet
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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)