Sophie Yates

Armand-Louis Couperin: Pièces de Clavecin

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Armand-Louis Couperin is one of the lesser-known members of the family famous for its keyboard performance and composition. Just as with his cousin François, Armand-Louis was an organist, but his most well-known compositions are for harpsichord. Armand-Louis' work is generally not considered as sophisticated as François', but it is attractive, which is an indicator of its belonging to that period in music history on the cusp of the Baroque and Classical eras. This disc by Sophie Yates contains almost all of his 1751 collection Pièces de clavecin. Selections such as La Victoire and La de Boisgelou are primarily made up of phrases and sections that show off the performer's skill, while the Gavottes show off the sound of the instrument. La Victoire alternates melodic sections with those using parallel lines of music. La de Boisgelou has more of an improvised sound, with the right hand given lots of ornamentation over a left hand that is either counter-melody, simple accompaniment, or drone. The Allemande also has an unmeasured, improvisational feel to it, not quite what is expected of a traditional dance-named movement. Other pieces, such as Les Cacqueteuses, La Turpin, and La Semillante are full of personality. In these cases, it would have been nice to have translations of the idiomatic French titles. After learning that "Les Cacqueteuses" is "The Gossips," the music makes more sense. In fact, Yates' notes for the disc are not as informative as they could be for a composer who is not well-known. She talks about the mildly ostentatious nature of the music, which can be heard in her performance, but doesn't really explain what she means by Couperin's harpsichord music "looking both forward and back." Regardless, when she plays, she clearly brings out the interesting feature of each piece, whether it is fancy finger-work or character.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
6:04
Pièces de Clavecin, 28 pieces for harpsichord
2
7:39
3
3:16
4
2:16
5
4:32
6
2:20
Pièces de Clavecin, 28 pieces for harpsichord
7
4:04
8
2:20
9
4:04
10
4:16
11
2:58
12
3:51
13
4:03
Pièces de Clavecin, 28 pieces for harpsichord
14
3:35
15
2:09
16
3:21
17
4:00
18
5:55
19
2:57
20
3:16
21
2:43
blue highlight denotes track pick