Les Baricades mistérieuses:
French baroque harpsichord music by Louis Couperin, François Couperin, and Jean-Philippe Rameau / Robert Petre, harpsichord.
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The barriers and mysteries built up around French music of the 17th and 18th centuries are part of its charm and fascination in our own time.  The ‘French paradox’, as it has been called, is one of its most elusive aspects:  the music is very precisely notated and ornamented, yet requires considerable freedom of interpretation.  With contemporary Italian or Italian-influenced music, the drama and flamboyance of opera was never far from its soul; but in the French style subtlety and flexibility were the keys to allowing the music to speak – and to dance.  François Couperin himself summed up the contrast neatly in his remark in the preface to his first book of Pièces de clavecin, that he would rather be moved than astonished.


Louis Couperin  Suite in C minor

1.     Prélude

2.     Allemande

3.     Courante

4.     Sarabande

5.     Gigue

6.     Chaconne

François Couperin  Sixième ordre, B flat major (Bk 2, 1717)

7.     Prélude

8.     Les Moissonneurs

9.     Les Langueurs-tendres

10.   La Commère

11.   Les Bergeries

12.   Le Moucheron

13.   Les Baricades mistérieuses

Jean-Philippe Rameau  Pièces de clavecin (1728), A minor

14.   Prélude

15.   Allemande

16.   Courante

17.   Sarabande

18.   La Triomphante

19.   Gavotte et 6 doubles

Recorded by Anthony Donovan in the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, August 2004.

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