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Louis Couperin

1626 - August 29, 1661
born in Chaumes, France, composed during the Baroque period
The Couperin family resembles, in many ways, the Bach family, though on a smaller scale: several generations of Couperins were important figures in the history of French music. Louis Couperin was the uncle to perhaps the best-known member of the Couperin family, François, also known as François le Grand. Louis was the son of Charles Couperin, organist of Chaume, and brother to Charles, also a successful organist and father to François.

Very little is known about the early years of Louis' life, other than that he must have received excellent musical training (probably from Chambonnières), for he became an overnight success when he finally arrived in Paris around 1651. Once in Paris, he secured a job as an organist at St. Gervais and also played treble viol in the royal chapel. He was a well-known and well-respected musician in Paris, and was closely connected to many of the most important musicians in the city.

Aproximately 215 of Couperin's works survive today, although it is very likely that he composed many more. Most of his compositions are works for keyboard, and indeed Couperin is considered one of the greatest French keyboard composers of the seventeenth century. His oeuvre includes a great deal of music for organ, including a number of fugues, as well as music for the harpsichord. Couperin's harpsichord music has generated the most interest over the centuries: comprised largely of short dance pieces -- allemandes, courantes, gigues, sarabandes, etc. -- the harpsichord music is remarkable for its intensity and sudden harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic gestures.

Some scholars have suggested that Couperin was one of the first French harpsichord composers to adopt the new basso continuo style; others have noted that his style changed from medium to medium, so that the violin music, the organ music, and the harpsichord music each reveal a different facet of the same fertile musical imagination. ~ Alexander Carpenter, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Louis Couperin: Harpsichord Suites

1. Prélude for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 2): Ste in D: Prelude

2. Allemande for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 58): Ste in D: Allemande

3. Courante for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 59): Ste in D: Courante

4. Sarabande for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 60): Ste in D: Sarabande

5. Gaillarde for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 61): Ste in D: Gaillarde

6. Chaconne for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 62): Ste in D: Chaconne

7. Prélude à L'imitation De Mr. Froberger, for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 6): Ste in a: Prelude a L'imitation De Mr Froberger

8. Allemande L'amiable, for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 101): Ste in a: Allemande L'amiable

9. Courante La Mignone for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 105): Ste in a: Courante La Mignonne

10. Sarabande for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 107): Ste in a: Sarabande

11. La Piémontoise, for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 102): Ste in a: La Piemontoise

12. Menuet De Poitou Et Son Double, for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 111): Ste in a: Menuet De Poitou Et Son Double

13. Tombeau pour Mr. de Blancrocher, for harpischord in F major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 81): I. Tombeau De M. De Blancrocher

14. Prélude for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 9): Ste in C: Prelude

15. Allemande for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 15): Ste in C: Allemande

16. Courante for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 16): Ste in C: Courante

17. Sarabande for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 20): Ste in C: Sarabande

18. Passacaille for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 27): Ste in C: Passacaille

19. Prélude for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 12): Ste in F: Prelude

20. Allemade Grave, for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 67): Ste in F: Allemande Grave

21. Courante for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 68): Ste in F: Courante

22. Sarabande for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 72): Ste in F: Sarabande

23. Branle De Basque, for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 73): Ste in F: Branle De Basque

24. Gigue for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 76): Ste in F: Gigue

25. Gaillarde for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 77): Ste in F: Gaillarde

26. Chaconne for Harpsichord in F Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 78): Ste in F: Chaconne

x

Track List: Louis Couperin: Tombeau de M. de Blancrocher

Title: Prélude for Harpsichord in D Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 2)
Title: Prélude à L'imitation De Mr. Froberger, for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 6)

6. Prélude à L'imitation De Mr. Froberger, for Harpsichord in a Minor (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 6): I. Prelude (Toccade)

Title: Pièces de clavecin, for harpsichord

7. Pièces de clavecin, for harpsichord: I. Prelude in F Major

Title: Tombeau pour Mr. de Blancrocher, for harpischord in F major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 81)

8. Tombeau pour Mr. de Blancrocher, for harpischord in F major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 81): I. Tombeau De M. De Blancrocher in F Major

Title: Passacaille for harpsichord in G minor (Pièces de clavecin, No. 98)

13. Passacaille for harpsichord in G minor (Pièces de clavecin, No. 98): V. Passacaille

Title: Courante for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 16)

17. Courante for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 16): IV. Courante (Croisee)

18. Courante for Harpsichord in C Major (Pièces De Clavecin, No. 16): V. Rigaudon Et Double

Title: Prélude for harpsichord in A major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 8)

20. Prélude for harpsichord in A major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 8): I. Prelude

Title: Pavane for harpsichord in F sharp minor (Pièces de clavecin, No. 120)

21. Pavane for harpsichord in F sharp minor (Pièces de clavecin, No. 120): I. Pavane

Title: Prélude for harpsichord in D minor (Pièces de clavecin, No. 1)

22. Prélude for harpsichord in D minor (Pièces de clavecin, No. 1): I. Prelude (Toccade)

Title: Prélude for harpsichord in G major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 129)

23. Prélude for harpsichord in G major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 129): I. Prelude

Title: Galliarde for harpsichord in G major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 88)

24. Galliarde for harpsichord in G major (Pièces de clavecin, No. 88): I. Galliarde

Comments

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Lovely, contemplativ e , even somewhat moody to modern ears. Louis Couperin creates a world of early pre-Bach Baroque masterpieces .

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