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Francois Couperin - XIIth Ordre of the Harpsichord Pieces

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Francois de Larrard, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Dear All,
    I have the pleasure to submit another 'Ordre' from François Couperin. It is not among the most popular ones, although it deserves as much attention as any piece of our greater harpsichordist. As usual, an apparently light music, but in reality strong enough to cross centuries and give joy and peace to all those who open their ears, or let their hands touch a keyboard.... The titles are both poetical and mysterious, oscillating between family and mythological moods. The 'Spinner' may evoke the sound of a loom; the 'Boulonoise' (my prefered piece) could be a lady from Boulogne-sur-mer, on the north french seashore (Boulonnaise in modern French). Atalante is a character of the Greek mythology, a daughter of Iassos or Schoeneas, depending on the tradition. In any case, a creature having superior physical abilities. Musically speaking, this last piece is closer to the german style (it would'nt disfigure a Bach's suite...).


    1. Les Jumelles (The Twin Girls)
    2. L'Intime (The Intimate)
    3. La Galante (The Galante)
    4. La Coribante ( The Coribante)
    5. La Vauvré (The Vauvré)
    6. La Fileuse (The Spinner)
    7. La Boulonoise (The Boulonoise)
    8. L'Atalante (The Atalante)

    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.1 - Les Jumelles
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.2 - L'Intime
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.3 - La Galante
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.4 - La Coribante
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.5 - La Vauvré
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.6 - La Fileuse
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.7 - La Boulonoise
    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.8 - L'Atalante
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Francois,
    I will be happy to put this set up onto the site, but first I want to ask you to redo the tags on the files.

    Please see here: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=5114

    It will take a long time for us admins to correct the tags on eight pieces, so it would save us a lot of time if you can do most of it first.

    Thank you :)
     
  3. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    OK Monica ! Please tell me if this one is correct. If yes, I'll post the others.
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    Francois,
    These are all beautiful works and beautifully played. I enjoyed the lute/damper stop sound on No. 7. These are a great addition to the website's repertoire -- even if performed on a digital piano with harpsichord sound selected.
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, that file name is correct. On the tags, the title should be like this:

    Couperin - 12th Ordre des Pièces de Clavecin, No.1 - Les Jumelles

    take out Couperin's first name and note a space before and after the dash. You can also make the genre "classical".
     
  6. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you, Eddy ! Yes, you're correct remembering this is not a real harpsichord, however for the listener the difference is almost unoticeable. Actually, since there is no dynamics in harpsichord, and little sympathy between the various strings (due to the absence of damper pedal), the fact of delivering sounds which were individually recorded from a good instrument is a more acceptable approximation, as compared to piano.
    Regarding the lute, it is actually a guitar sound (at least this is the name given by Yamaha...), and I even would say that I prefer this sound than a real harpsichord with a lute sound. Hence this configuration gives a very short and dry sound, although here we have a long decay and something much more expressive.

    Monica, please find the 8 files, hopefully in good order. Regards,
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    I thoroughly enjoyed these: in particular the sound on no.7 is quite exquisite.

    I'm a little confused by no.4 because in English "corybantic" has connotations of being frantic, wild, bacchanalian to the point of excess and the piece itself seems rather more staid.

    On the other hand no.8 fits the name excellently: if my recollections are correct, Atalanta was a great beauty and miraculously speedy athlete of Greek mythology who attempted to stay perpetually unmarried by challenging suitors to a running race with execution or marriage their two potential outcomes.
     
  8. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for your kind comment. I'm pleased to know that you enjoy these pieces. According to Wikipedia (French version), the 'Corybantes' are 'dancers wearing a helmet who celebrate the cult of the great phrygian goddess Cybele, playing the tambourine and dancing'. Hence Couperin's piece has a 3/4 dance rythm, quite tonic if not very martial...
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you very much for correcting the tags, Francois. It helped me a lot. :D The only thing which I forgot to tell you was that I had to take out the cedilla on your name. Sorry about that, but the program doesn't handle special characters well, and I didn't want your name to get screwed up on the "new recordings" list.

    Regarding the music and your playing: Very good, as usual. I especially liked no. 7. Is that a mandolin sound? I've been wanting to take up the mandolin one of these days.

    Anyway, these are up. Please check if everything is in order.
     
  10. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wonderful playing! The music was new to my ears but truly great and as you put it "poetical and mysterious". Also, very good sound of the harpsichord. Though it sounded a bit different between some pieces as 7th for example where Monica caught it right when she said it sounded almost like a mandolin.
     
  11. robert

    robert New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Information of your recording was just posted on Twitter ;).
     
  12. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Monica for your compliments, and don't mind about the cedilla (I am used to that when I go in international conferences, for my work...). Regarding the mandolin, the button on my Yamaha P 120 says 'Guitar', but, as you know, depending on the place you scratch the string, you may obtain a variety of sounds (which makes the guitar a so expressive instrument). When you are close to the ends, you may get a kind of mandolin sound.
    Otherwise, I've checked the 'Ordre' in the Couperin's page. It's OK, except the translations of the titles in English which are missing. Actually, this is my fault because I did not repeat them after my first post. Sorry.. :oops:

    Thanks Robert ! In addition to the guitar sound, I have the possibility to play either the 8' harpsichord alone, or superimposed with a 4' (actually the same one, but transposed by one octave). This gives a fuller sound, as when you couple the two keyboards of a real harpsichord.

    Therefore, I'm getting famous :lol:
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm the one who should apologize - I should have included the English titles in the first place. They are there now. :)
     
  14. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I sampled some of each item and marveled at your affinity with this music. It seems very idiomatically played, and you have the nimble fingers for all the trills and frills. You will now complete all of these ordres, won't you ? Then we'll make one of the great big juggernaut 'Complete Recording' tables for you.

    I wish I could appreciate this music more. But sadly I don't have the patience to listen all of them out to the end. It's not your fault, and probably my loss. But if this music has to be played at all, let it be played like this :D
     
  15. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Chris, I know you have difficulties with the French baroque composers. Even if we claim to be open-minded, we cannot have the same interest for all music history. As for myself, I always had hard time to listen more than 5' of Wagner, in spite of knowing he is one of the greatest giants of the opera world. Life is short, and fortunately we have plenty of music that we love, and forthe adoration of which we lack time... Regarding my integral of Couperin... good idea, but with five 'ordres' in the box, I still have 22 more to learn ! Maybe I could try to record one a year and see if I'm getting old enough to complete the series :?
     
  16. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I have listened to some of these and all in all they are like rich food: very tasty but must be taken in small doses and that is how I appreciate them. It makes me regret a bit having passed on my Farfisa organ, which had a perfect harpsichord register, to my niece. Or maybe it was a good thing, as she now is on the road to becoming an opera singer.
     
  17. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you Richard. Small doses, yes; fortunately, the pieces are short, like 'petits fours'. Maybe some champagne would help !
     
  18. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello François, these are played beautifully with full technical control and musicality. A nice return indeed! It looks like that it's up to you to resurrect Baroque harpsichord music. :D I agree the Yamaha P120 puts a good sample of the harpsichord's tonal and timbral characteristics. The "guitar" sound and velocity sensitive keys do add more expressive character, but the music does exceed the guitar's low limit at E2 (82.4Hz).
    I wonder if there is a way to similarly "change" the sound acoustically with a real harpsichord by placing the mics away from the tangent and point them toward the other end of the strings to reduce stridency? Or with felt strips/dampers interlaced between the strings like on some pianos?...
    This is masterful playing here, François, rendered with stylistic accuracy!

    George
     
  19. Francois de Larrard

    Francois de Larrard Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi George,
    Thank you for your kind appreciation. Well, it is true that I love the music of first half of XVIIIth century, and I had the chance to have a good piano professor, who was also an organist, and who gave me quite early this virus !
    You're right noting that my pseudo guitar sound has a wider register than a real guitar, but is it a problem ? Regarding your question about the possibility of changing the harpsichord sound, I have little competence in this field, since I have never had a real one, and I have had unfortunately few opportunities in my life to play such an instrument. Recently, we visited here in Lyon a beautiful museum, where there is a magnificent harpsichord. This two-keyboard instrument was built at the end of the XVIIth, and is supposed to have been played by J.Ph. Rameau. I asked, just in case, to the keeper if I might make a small trial, playing some Rameau's pieces, but you can imagine the answer :( ...
     

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