Couperin's Pièces de Clavecin are remarkably diverse and durable enough to retain their charms, and even reveal new ones in incarnations other than their original format. French pianist Alexandre Tharaud capitalizes on their versatility by transferring an assortment of them to the piano. (He had previously done the same for a recital of Rameau's Nouvelles de Suites de Pièces de Clavecin.) After one adjusts to the initial shock of hearing this repertoire played on a modern instrument, the pieces Tharaud selected sound wonderful on the piano. Many of the short works benefit from the expanded dynamic range available on a modern piano, such as the wonderfully boisterous Les Baricades Mistérieuses, Les Tricoteuses, and Bruit de Guerre (which is accompanied by Pablo Pico playing the tambour), and Tharaud exploits those expressive possibilities. Tharaud is judicious in his use of the pedal, so the pieces retain their intended clarity. He includes one work not by Couperin, La Pothouïn by Jacques Duphly, born a generation after Couperin, an elegant and expressive character piece. The collection makes a delightful introduction to Couperin's keyboard works, and for those who are already fans, offers fresh insights into familiar pieces.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins