Donald Macleod surveys musical portraits of aristocracy and musicians by Francois Couperin.
Donald Macleod surveys musical portraits of aristocracy and musicians by Francois Couperin
Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.
Francois Couperin composed a number of musical depictions of his contemporaries and aristocratic patrons. He taught keyboard at the Versailles palace to the Dauphin and six Princes of the Blood. Among his musical portraits of royalty and aristocracy include harpsichord works depicting Madame de Bourbon, and also the Spanish Princess who for a time was the fiancée of Louis XV.
Couperin also created musical portraits of another nature. Not only did he depict in music the composers Arcangelo Corelli, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and also one of himself, but also composed depictions of the Holy Queen, Mary, and the mythological characters of Ariadne and Bacchus.
Quatrieme livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt et unieme ordre (La Couperin)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord
Paul Agnew, tenor
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director
L’Apotheose de Corelli
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, director
Second Livre de pieces de clavecin (La Charoloise)
Second Livre de pieces de clavecin (La Princesse de Sens)
Michael Borgstede, harpsichord
Arianne console par Bacchus
Stephane Degout, baritone
Christophe Coin, viol
Laura Monica Pustilnik, lute
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord & director
Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales