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Couperin - Tenth Ordre of Harpsichord Pieces

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Francois de Larrard, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear All,
    Please find a recording of a Couperin's suite I have made last week-end. The general tone is a joyful and luminous D major, with some more thoughtful pieces in D minor. The first one is actually a suite into the suite; it evokes military music, especially the first and the third part, while the intermediate (Joy of the Victors) is one of my preferred rondos among all Couperin's music. La Mézangère is also a magnificent piece, with this typical interior, grave and intimate tone so peculiar of this composer. The rest of the movements are all very alert and dancing small pieces. I'll just emphasize the last one (les Bagatelles) which looks to me as a very nice and bright clock mechanism full of ornaments (about half of the notes !). Quite tricky to play, also. I recommend it for pianists who are keen to practice pincé and tremblements (in XVIIIth century French).

    Dixième Ordre des pièces de clavecin
    (Tenth Ordre of Harpsichord Pieces)

    1 - La Triomphante (The Triumphant One)
    a) Bruit de guerre - Combat (Clamor of War - Battle)
    b) Allégresse des vainqueurs (Joy of the Victors)
    c) Fanfare

    2 - La Mézangère (Mézangeau's Piece)

    3 - La Gabrièle (Gabriele)

    4 - La Nointèle

    5 - La Fringante (The Frisky One)

    6 - L'Amazone (The Amazon)

    7 - Rondeau: les Bagatelles (The Trifles)

    The score can be downloaded with the following link. Go to page 178
    http://imslp.org/images/7/74/CuperinCom ... Works1.pdf

    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 1: La Triomphante (8:38)
    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 2: La Mezangere (3:01)
    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 3: La Gabriele (1:56)
    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 4: La Nointele (3:01)
    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 5: La Fringante (2:26)
    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 6: L'Amazone (1:42)
    Couperin - 10th Ordre of harpsichord pieces - 7: Les Bagatelles (1:51)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow, another book ! Will this eventually be a complete recording ? That would be quite unique.
    I'll put these up later today, and perhaps listen to some (if probably not all).
     
  3. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Chris,
    This is only an 'Ordre'. Couperin wrote 27 of them, classified among 4 books. I'am afraid I won't live long enough to complete the whole repertoire... If you lack time,
    I recommend the listening of #1, 2 and 7 pieces, even if all are good to excellent (of course I'm talking about the composition !).
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Francois,
    I listened to no. 1, 2, and 7 like you suggested. Wonderful playing! Your ornaments are so nice and clean!!
     
  5. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Monica ! Have a good sunday,
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are on the site. From what I heard (not all of it), great playing. I wish I could play ornaments like that.

    A few words about tagging and naming:
    1) File names not consistent with what we had on the site. But I could not be bothered to rename them.
    2) There where no sequence numbers in the tags. I've added them. Next time please remember to do that.
    3) There were French diacrits in the tags. This is not allowed, I've removed them.
     
  7. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Chris. Sorry to be so bad in tags. I tried to use the same format as I did for my previous submissions, but apparently they were not better...
     
  8. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Francois,
    Finally had time to listen to all of them. Let me be the third person to declare myself bowled over by your ornaments; they're truly a joy to hear! I did not listen with the score, but could tell that the recordings were also very accurate in addition to being energetic and musical.

    May I ask you a question? What is the nature of the settings in #2 and the second half of #5? The plucking "component" of the sound in #2 is so subdued that it sounds like a lute; whereas #5 is rather like the piano's "una corda". Is this an electronic instrument?? Or a mic effect? Thanks.
     
  9. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Stu ! I'm pleased to find pianists who like harpsichord, a so under-ranked instrument...

    Hence I don't have a real harpsichord, unfortunately. Rather I play on a digital keyboard (Yamaha P 120) that I purchased to be able to play piano on a portable instrument. My surprise was to find that other sounds were better reproduced, like harpsichord, vibraphone and others. Especially when I plug directly the keyboard on a recorder, I get quite a nice sound, very clean and realistic, especially in the low range.
    Real harpsichord generally have a 'lute' register. My keyboard has a guitar sound that I use instead, eg in the two pieces you refer to. It's good, in a suite, to give some rest to the ears with this soft sound; as a matter of fact, the harpsichord one is bright and sunny, but it may be a little too harsh when used for too long pieces or too many of them. At least for my taste...
    Regards,
     
  10. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I didn't know that! Very interesting, Francois. Could you perhaps direct me to a link online where I can hear the lute register on a real harpsichord?
     
  11. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I've found this little clip on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKgaP8EjbiY

    I don't know what language it is. Maybe korean ? Anyway, you'll hear a lute sound at 2'00 or so. This is a 'conventional' harpsichord mechanism, but felt is applied against the strings to limit resonance and to cut the treble part of the sound. While looking at the Internet, I found also another type of lute sound:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4ZRn6Hk8N0

    It is apparently another principle: here the steel strings are replaced by gut ones (so that people speaks about 'lute harpsichord'). The sound is maybe a little closer to my 'guitar' sound. Hence there was a great variety of keyboard instruments during the Baroque time, and in many cases composers did not specify for which one they were composing. Finally, which is most important is to fine a sound you like and which fits to the music you want to play... For instance, I always found that most baroque keyboard music can give very nice results when played on an organ...
     
  12. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Francois. The lute harpsichord in the second video still sounds very much like a harpsichord, but it's warmer and more rich. I like it! I can listen to regular harpsichord music only in small doses. I think I could listen to this lute harpsichord for a longer period of time. But I think it is interesting that people were experimenting with making different sounds on a harpsichord back in the old days. I recently learned about a kind of 'piano' that was invented by Da Vinci. And Francois, I think you really need to have one! :) It has a keyboard like a piano, so you play it like a piano. However, it sounds like a viola in the upper ranges and a cello in the lower ranges. Somebody in Poland actually built Da Vinci's piano and played it in a recital. Here is a link to the video if you are interested:

    http://www.popsci.com/article/technolog ... SOC&dom=fb
     
  13. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Another good point for the great Leonardo ! The sound of this instrument is very nice to me, warm and expressive. I had difficulty to detect wether the player can control the dynamics or not. Not sure... Years ago I made a trial in a music instruments store of a special kind of synthesizer. You could control the level of the sound with the attack (as with a normal piano), but also you could hold the sound as long as the key was pressed (as with an organ). Even, changing the pressure while holding the key made the sound level fluctuating, so you could play a chord and make a crescendo, like a string quartet ! Off course, to have a full musical control of these functions would have required a lot of training. Apparently, this type of keyboard did not meet its public (I have never seen such an instrument played by professionals in any type of music), though it would be in theory the ideal keyboard !
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow! Yes, that does sound like the ideal keyboard. Maybe then I wouldn't get criticized for my lack of dynamics so much. :)
     
  15. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Francois,

    Your playing of this suite is superlative The expression unfolds through
    the ornaments, push and pull feeling of phrases in both the left and right hands.
    Nothing goes unexpressed.

    The second ordre sounds like a guitar in the
    beginning as you have commented about. The expression is really
    amazing, Your interpretation is right there. It feels like an historical
    novel.

    The third ordre is beautiful and sings out a story of events and emotions.
    It is almost operatic in it's own way. Oh my gosh, I cannot get over those little
    repeated notes. It is such a pleasure to hear a midi keyboard used in such a
    high level way.  Bravo!

    The fourth ordre has a busy busy contemplative air about it, as though one is
    beset solving the step by step problems of a necessary task. It then takes a
    turn to something more fun. The playing is great.

    The fifth ordre also sings out the sentiment of the melodic patterns. Beautiful.

    It is a revelation to hear the scope of Couperin's musical imagination. I love the harp like
    quality in the softer parts.

    Ordre 6 was a less straight forward in interpretation but non the less was well presented.

    Les Bagatelles with all the little rhythmic patterns was cohesive, unified and marvelously
    measured.

    Thank you for this wonderful performance.

    Kaila
     
  16. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear Kaila,
    This is probably the longest and most positive post I've ever received from a PS fellow. Thanks so much ! Coming from an accomplished pianist and musician like you only add value, of course... You understand that I have a special relationship with Couperin (the reason why I have adopted one of his famous sentences under my signature). I had a dear old piano teacher who opened my mind to music between the age of 10 to 17. He was an organist, a French music lover, among other music, and I remember him talking about Couperin and his dynasty. But I did not practice any Couperin's piece with him. I was in my late thirties I think when I bought the Dover edition of harpsichord pieces and started playing it. Since this time, it is a source of happiness at which I come regularly. He is very popular within the harpsichordist community, but almost ignored by pianists. It is true that this music is full of ornaments (sometimes one every two notes !), and these ornaments are not easy to play on piano, especially on upright ones. Also, there are few notes - many pieces contain only two voices - which make them sounding somewhat lean on piano. However, some great pianists like Robert Casadessus or Marcelle Meyer have long shown that this music can be also nicely rendered on modern pianos...
    I hope that my modest performance will give you the curiosity to make a trial with François Couperin "le Grand". The uncle Louis was not bad either...
    Regards,
     

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