François Couperin - Quatrième livre de suites pour clavecin (1730): La Convalescente
Couperin’s four volumes of harpsichord music, published in Paris in 1713, 1717, 1722, and 1730, contain over 230 individual pieces, which can be played on solo harpsichord or performed as small chamber works. These pieces were not grouped into suites, as was the common practice, but ordres, which were Couperin’s own version of suites containing traditional dances as well as descriptive pieces.
Many of Couperin’s keyboard pieces have evocative, picturesque titles and express a mood through key choices, adventurous harmonies and (resolved) discords. They have been likened to miniature tone poems.
The early-music expert Jordi Savall has written that Couperin was the “poet musician par excellence”, who believed in “the ability of Music [with a capital M] to express itself in prose and poetry”, and that “if we enter into the poetry of music we discover that it carries grace that is more beautiful than beauty itself”.
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