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Francois Couperin : 27th Order of the Harpsichord Pieces

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Francois de Larrard, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Dear All,
    This the last set of Couperin's harpsichord pieces. Maybe not the most inspired, but still nice pieces in which Couperin used all his mastery of harpsichord composing. Strangely enough, the older he was, the higher the tessitura he chose, as a wish to recall the voice he had when he was a young man... As usual, the titles are quite mysterious: the first piece may be exquisite (when properly played !). But why 'Les pavots' for the second one (which has little to do with opium, I think) ? Has the third one any Chinese flavour ? Is the last one humoristic, as the 'Saillie' title means in French ?
    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    Couperin - 27eme Ordre des pieces de clavecin - No.1 - L'exquise (3:46)
    Couperin - 27eme Ordre des pieces de clavecin - No.2 - Les pavots (4:49)
    Couperin - 27eme Ordre des pieces de clavecin - No.3 - Les Chinois (3:05)
    Couperin - 27eme Ordre des pieces de clavecin - No.4 - Saillie (2:46)
     
  2. verqueue

    verqueue New Member

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    I don't know these pieces. For me it seems that you have very good feeling of time in this music. Ornaments are also very good. I think everything is very good ;). So, I don't have anything smart to say - I really enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing!
     
  3. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for your feedback and your compliments. Did you notice it is not a real harpsichord, but a digital keyboard? I have always dreamed about a real one, but the cost and the need of frequent tuning prevent me to make such a purchase. The good news is that nowadays pianists can access to reasonable imitations of the ancestor of their favourite instrument...
     
  4. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello Francois

    I like the feel of push and pull in your interpretation. The sound is very rich and the phrasing is very communicative throughout. A captivating performance.
    Thank you for posting,

    Kaila
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    When you wrote "the last set" I thought for a moment you had done them all. Not so, it seems. Are you planning to record the complete ordres ?

    Excellently done as always. In fact very nice, if you like that sort of thing :) I admire your patience and dedication to record this kind of repertoire. I could never do that.

    I've touched a harpsichord only once or twice, and it was a loooong time ago. So I can't remember if and how the touch was different from a piano. Probably depends heavily on the type and age of the instrument. Does your piano have a different touch when you switch to harpsichord more ?

    I was busy putting these on the site but had the usual trouble with your ID3 tags. They are version 2.3 and it seems my tag-processing software only recognizes version 2.2 at best even though I am using the current version of id3lib. Another one of these technical puzzles to keep me no my toes....
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    These are on the site Francois. Maybe you can provide English translations of the titles like you did for the other sets.
     
  7. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    @Kaila
    Thank you very much for your listening and kind comments. May I ask you what you mean by 'push and pull' interpretation ? Forgive my limited English...

    @Chris
    Yes, by last set I meant 27th order over a total of 27. I don't know if I ever will complete all of them. We will see...
    My digital keyboard is supposed to have a 'heavy' piano touch. In fact it resembles more to a soft upright piano (easier than a grand one, but more difficult than a well tuned old Pleyel, for instance).
    A real harpsichord is very different in the sense that, when you press a key, after a few millimeters it resists to the pressure then fails. Like when you put your nail on a guitar string. The depth of the touch is much smaller than on a modern piano, but the most perturbing aspect (for me, at least) is the size of the keyboard : the keys are shorter, and over all more narrow and closer to each other. On a piano my fingers fit between two black keys, not on an harpsichord ! If I had a real one, I would have to adapt my technique, and this may be difficult if I would continue to play piano in parallel...

    For the titles:
    1) Allemande: L'exquise (The exquisite one)
    2) Les pavots (The poppies)
    3) Les Chinois (The Chinese)
    4) Saillie (Quip)
     
  8. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Francois,

    What I meant by push and pull was something similar to rubato,
    but not as obvious.

    Best,
    Kaila
     
  9. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello Kaila,
    Thank you for this precision. Well, I think that in solo harpsichord baroque music, it is important not to fail in two extremes: on one hand a metronomic playing, which is very soon boring given the lack of dynamics of the instrument, and on the other hand a too flexible tempo, which destroys the feeling of the drive. Also, the main melodic lines have to be played slightly after the bass (with a rythmic delay) in order to be heard by the auditor (if not, they are just hidden by the medium and bass ranges). Finally I try to display the general architecture of the pieces. This can be done by adding some retardation between two sections. Off course these principles can also apply to piano renditions.
     
  10. musicrecovery

    musicrecovery Member Piano Society Artist

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    Francois,

    Thank you for your explanation - very interesting.

    Kaila
     
  11. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    You're welcome !
     
  12. StuKautsch

    StuKautsch Member Piano Society Artist

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    Excellent job, Francois. The ornaments in the fourth must be very difficult, and you pulled them off fine.

    (BTW: As always, I listened through speakers.)

    At the end of 1 & 3, the "twang" of the "strings" upon release is very pronounced. Is this an idiosyncrasy of the electronic instrument? There is no such "twang" at the end of 2, and at the end of 4 it is very subdued. It reminds me of the sound a piano makes if one has released ones hands before releasing the (sustain) pedal, and then releasing the pedal very suddenly. It can produce a weird shimmering sound.

    I know I'm being picky, but the recordings would be a little nicer without it.
     
  13. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hello Stu,
    Thank you for your feedback. Well, I have re-listened the end of each piece, and I find for all of them a strange audio effect: during the time elapsed between the last chord attack and the release, the sound seems to increase instead of vanish ! Therefore the noise produced by the contact of the dampers with the strings is over-amplified. I wonder if it is an effect of the compression function of the file reader (the effect is strong with Windows Media, somewhat less with VLC but still audible). When I play on my Yamaha, I don't hear that. This could be corrected on the mp3 file using an editor, I think, but it seems to depend on the software you use to read the file.
    BTW, I'm not so happy with the ornaments, especially in the last piece which is, as you say, very tricky !
    Regards,
     
  14. pepasch

    pepasch cooperation is a profession Piano Society Artist

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    This i like very much. Great sense of rubato and timing. Very interesting to listen to.

    Thanks for uploading.

    Peter Schuttevaar
     
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thanks for listening and congratulating!
    Regards,
     

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