Lucy Carolan / John Kitchen

François Couperin: La Paix du Parnasse

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AllMusic Review by

The dual-harpsichord performances here represent François Couperin's original intentions only in a few cases; most of the works here are better known as solo harpsichord pieces or as trio sonatas. The justification for performing them this way is twofold: first there is the existence of several movements in Couperin's Ordres or suites that do in fact call for two instruments, and second there is a body of music of the era, including Couperin's own L'apothéose de Lully, that specifies two harpsichords as an alternate instrumentation and whose texture works with those forces. The duo work of Lucy Carolan and John Kitchen is lively and accurate. The elegant booklet notes by Carolan, touching on questions of instrumentation as well as on the fascinating topic of where the odd names of Couperin's pieces (like Le Dodo, ou l'amour au berceau) come from, are convincing, and the music works well enough diffused over several keyboards even if something of the intense concentration of Couperin's music is lost. The sumptuous double-manual French harpsichords used on the recording, constructed much later in the eighteenth century, have interesting stories of their own, but they tend to overwhelm the delicate detail of Couperin's music, and the sound has a harsh, booming quality. This disc will be of the most interest for libraries and collections that go into depth when it comes to historical-performance issues.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:03
2 01:44
3 04:18
4 03:13
5 02:17
La Paix du Parnasse, for 2 treble instruments & continuo (Apothéose de Lully)
6 01:44
7 01:36
8 01:43
9 01:45
10 03:01
11 01:46
12 04:33
13 01:43
Troisième concert, for harpsichord (or violin, flute, oboe, viol & bassoon) in A major (Concerts royaux)
14 01:45
15 02:33
16 02:14
17 03:23
18 02:27
Concerts royaux, for harpsichord or violin, flute, oboe, viol & bassoon (Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin)
19 01:50
20 03:22
21 02:34
22 01:38
Concerts royaux, for harpsichord or violin, flute, oboe, viol & bassoon (Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin)
23 01:17
La Steinquerque, trio sonata for 2 violins & continuo
24 01:27
25 00:55
26 01:02
27 00:56
28 00:27
29 01:19
30 00:26
31 01:12
blue highlight denotes track pick