The instrumentation for François Couperin's major chamber works, the Concerts Royaux and Les Nations, is typically assigned to two treble instruments (violins, recorders, oboes, etc.) and a basso continuo of cello and a keyboard or other appropriate harmony instrument. Even so, there is a great deal of flexibility from one performance to the next. This "open scoring," as it might appear by modern standards, allows other possibilities, such as the versions for two harpsichords performed by Jochewed Schwarz and Emer Buckley. They rely on Couperin's preface to a later publication indicating that he preferred to play the music on two harpsichords. This is the second volume of the keyboard rendition by Schwarz and Buckley on Toccata Classics, and the option Couperin provided works well on two harpsichords, though not every listener will take to it readily. Depending on which performances a listener is accustomed to hear, this might sound like a shocking departure, even though Couperin is one of the great harpsichord composers of the Baroque era. Apart from personal preferences, though, this ought to be accepted as a valid interpretation, and Schwarz and Buckley have turned in an accomplished reading that is quite satisfying for its lively rhythms, full textures, and richly hued sonorities.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Concerts Royaux, Quatrième concert|
|Les Nations, Premier ordre: La Françoise|
I. Gravement - Gayement - Rondement - Gayëment - Gravement - Vivement - Air, Gracieusement - Gayëment
|Les nations, troisième ordre: L'impériale|