Francois Couperin (1688-1733)

Episodes

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Couperin And The Church Of St Gervais20181107

Donald Macleod explores Francois Couperin's enduring loyalty to his family church.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod explores Francois Couperin’s enduring loyalty to his family church.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

The Couperin family were intimately connected to the Church of St Gervais in Paris. When Francois was made organist there, he succeeded his father, Charles, who in turn had inherited the post from his elder brother, Louis. Charles had died when Francois was aged only ten. He and his mother were allowed to stay on in the organist’s house rent free, while he trained to take over his father's position.

Couperin maintained his connection with St Gervais throughout his glittering career at court. He provided a number of works for liturgical use, including organ Masses which were his first works to be published during his lifetime. Donald also features excerpts from Couperin's Tenebrae Lessons, considered pinnacle of his sacred writing. These solemn choral pieces would be performed in services on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, while candles lighting the church were gradually extinguished.

Domine salvum fac regem
Jill Feldman, soprano
Gregory Reinhart, baritone
Jaap Ter Linden, bass viol
Davitt Moroney, organ

Messe pour les couvents (Gloria)
Marie-Claire Alain, organ

Troisieme Lecon
Judith Nelson, soprano
Emma Kirkby, soprano
Jane Ryan, viola da gamba
Christopher Hogwood, chamber organ

Les Nations (La Francois)
The Purcell Quartet

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Francois Couperin's enduring loyalty to his family church.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod explores Francois Couperin’s enduring loyalty to his family church.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

The Couperin family were intimately connected to the Church of St Gervais in Paris. When Francois was made organist there, he succeeded his father, Charles, who in turn had inherited the post from his elder brother, Louis. Charles had died when Francois was aged only ten. He and his mother were allowed to stay on in the organist’s house rent free, while he trained to take over his father's position.

Couperin maintained his connection with St Gervais throughout his glittering career at court. He provided a number of works for liturgical use, including organ Masses which were his first works to be published during his lifetime. Donald also features excerpts from Couperin's Tenebrae Lessons, considered pinnacle of his sacred writing. These solemn choral pieces would be performed in services on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, while candles lighting the church were gradually extinguished.

Domine salvum fac regem
Jill Feldman, soprano
Gregory Reinhart, baritone
Jaap Ter Linden, bass viol
Davitt Moroney, organ

Messe pour les couvents (Gloria)
Marie-Claire Alain, organ

Troisieme Lecon
Judith Nelson, soprano
Emma Kirkby, soprano
Jane Ryan, viola da gamba
Christopher Hogwood, chamber organ

Les Nations (La Francois)
The Purcell Quartet

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Francois Couperin's enduring loyalty to his family church.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Couperin At The Court Of The Sun King20181108

Francois Couperin's time at the court of Louis XIV.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Francois Couperin’s time at the court of Louis XIV.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Francois Couperin was auditioned for the job of organist to France's Chapel Royal by Louise XIV himself. The Sun King had a keen passion for music and took a great interest in his court musician. After a matter of months Couperin was also appointed as harpsichord instructor to Les Enfants de France, the sons of the King. Teaching was an integral part of Francois Couperin’s career and in 1713 he published a set of harpsichord pieces called L’Art de Toucher le Clavecin, works specifically composed for use in teaching.

King Louis would attend Mass every day, and Couperin was also responsible for composing new works to be performed in the Versailles Chapel, such as his motet Respice in me. Couperin also composed chamber music for the entertainment of the Cour, and among his work to be performed towards the end of Louis’ life, were his Concert Royaux.

Messe pour les paroisses (Agnus Dei)
Marie-Claire Alain, organ

L’Art de Toucher le Clavecin
Christopher Rousset, harpsichord

Respice in me
Paul Agnew, tenor
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Concert Royaux (Premier Concert)
Robert Claire, flute
Janet See, flute
Davitt Moroney, harpsichord
Jaap ter Linden, bass viol

Pieces de violes avec la basse chifree (Deuxieme Suite)
Musica ad Rhenum

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Francois Couperin's time at the court of Louis XIV.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Francois Couperin’s time at the court of Louis XIV.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Francois Couperin was auditioned for the job of organist to France's Chapel Royal by Louise XIV himself. The Sun King had a keen passion for music and took a great interest in his court musician. After a matter of months Couperin was also appointed as harpsichord instructor to Les Enfants de France, the sons of the King. Teaching was an integral part of Francois Couperin’s career and in 1713 he published a set of harpsichord pieces called L’Art de Toucher le Clavecin, works specifically composed for use in teaching.

King Louis would attend Mass every day, and Couperin was also responsible for composing new works to be performed in the Versailles Chapel, such as his motet Respice in me. Couperin also composed chamber music for the entertainment of the Cour, and among his work to be performed towards the end of Louis’ life, were his Concert Royaux.

Messe pour les paroisses (Agnus Dei)
Marie-Claire Alain, organ

L’Art de Toucher le Clavecin
Christopher Rousset, harpsichord

Respice in me
Paul Agnew, tenor
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Concert Royaux (Premier Concert)
Robert Claire, flute
Janet See, flute
Davitt Moroney, harpsichord
Jaap ter Linden, bass viol

Pieces de violes avec la basse chifree (Deuxieme Suite)
Musica ad Rhenum

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Francois Couperin's time at the court of Louis XIV.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Couperin The Portraitist20181105

Donald Macleod explores musical portraits by Francois Couperin.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod surveys musical portraits of aristocracy and musicians by Francois Couperin

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Francois Couperin composed a number of musical depictions of his contemporaries and aristocratic patrons. He taught keyboard at the Versailles palace to the Dauphin and six Princes of the Blood. Among his musical portraits of royalty and aristocracy include harpsichord works depicting Madame de Bourbon, and also the Spanish Princess who for a time was the fiancée of Louis XV.

Couperin also created musical portraits of another nature. Not only did he depict in music the composers Arcangelo Corelli, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and also one of himself, but also composed depictions of the Holy Queen, Mary, and the mythological characters of Ariadne and Bacchus.

Quatrieme livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt et unieme ordre (La Couperin)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Salve Regina
Paul Agnew, tenor
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

L’Apotheose de Corelli
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, director

Second Livre de pieces de clavecin (La Charoloise)
Second Livre de pieces de clavecin (La Princesse de Sens)
Michael Borgstede, harpsichord

Arianne console par Bacchus
Stephane Degout, baritone
Christophe Coin, viol
Laura Monica Pustilnik, lute
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord and director

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores musical portraits by Francois Couperin.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

"

Donald Macleod surveys musical portraits of aristocracy and musicians by Francois Couperin

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Francois Couperin composed a number of musical depictions of his contemporaries and aristocratic patrons. He taught keyboard at the Versailles palace to the Dauphin and six Princes of the Blood. Among his musical portraits of royalty and aristocracy include harpsichord works depicting Madame de Bourbon, and also the Spanish Princess who for a time was the fiancée of Louis XV.

Couperin also created musical portraits of another nature. Not only did he depict in music the composers Arcangelo Corelli, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and also one of himself, but also composed depictions of the Holy Queen, Mary, and the mythological characters of Ariadne and Bacchus.

Quatrieme livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt et unieme ordre (La Couperin)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Salve Regina
Paul Agnew, tenor
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

L’Apotheose de Corelli
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, director

Second Livre de pieces de clavecin (La Charoloise)
Second Livre de pieces de clavecin (La Princesse de Sens)
Michael Borgstede, harpsichord

Arianne console par Bacchus
Stephane Degout, baritone
Christophe Coin, viol
Laura Monica Pustilnik, lute
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord & director

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores musical portraits by Francois Couperin.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music."

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Couperin, The Fusion Composer20181109

Donald Macleod examines the Italian flavours in Couperin's native French style.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod examines how Couperin introduced Italian flavours to his native French style.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Many of Couperin's contemporaries looked down on the fashionable new musical styles emerging from other countries but Couperin embraced them. The Court of James II was in exile in France and brought with them music from Italy. As early as the 1690s, Francois was exploring Italian possibilities in music and he greatly admired the Trios of Arcangelo Couperin.

In the last decade of his career, Couperin published a collection of works called Les Gouts-Reunis, to bridge the musical divide between the Italian and French styles. He said in the preface that he himself had always admired works of merit without prejudice to the author or their nationality.

Premier livre de Pieces de clavecin, Premier ordre (La Milordine)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Les Nations, Quatrieme Ordre (La Piemontoise)
The Purcell Quartet

Les Gouts-reunis ou Nouveux Concerts (Cinquieme Concert)
Musica Ad Rhenum

Quatrieme livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt-troisieme ordre
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Couperin, The Fusion Composer20181109

Donald Macleod examines the Italian flavours in Couperin's native French style.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod examines how Couperin introduced Italian flavours to his native French style.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Many of Couperin's contemporaries looked down on the fashionable new musical styles emerging from other countries but Couperin embraced them. The Court of James II was in exile in France and brought with them music from Italy. As early as the 1690s, Francois was exploring Italian possibilities in music and he greatly admired the Trios of Arcangelo Couperin.

In the last decade of his career, Couperin published a collection of works called Les Gouts-Reunis, to bridge the musical divide between the Italian and French styles. He said in the preface that he himself had always admired works of merit without prejudice to the author or their nationality.

Premier livre de Pieces de clavecin, Premier ordre (La Milordine)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Les Nations, Quatrieme Ordre (La Piemontoise)
The Purcell Quartet

Les Gouts-reunis ou Nouveux Concerts (Cinquieme Concert)
Musica Ad Rhenum

Quatrieme livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt-troisieme ordre
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod examines the Italian flavours in Couperin's native French style.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod examines how Couperin introduced Italian flavours to his native French style.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

Many of Couperin's contemporaries looked down on the fashionable new musical styles emerging from other countries but Couperin embraced them. The Court of James II was in exile in France and brought with them music from Italy. As early as the 1690s, Francois was exploring Italian possibilities in music and he greatly admired the Trios of Arcangelo Couperin.

In the last decade of his career, Couperin published a collection of works called Les Gouts-Reunis, to bridge the musical divide between the Italian and French styles. He said in the preface that he himself had always admired works of merit without prejudice to the author or their nationality.

Premier livre de Pieces de clavecin, Premier ordre (La Milordine)
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Les Nations, Quatrieme Ordre (La Piemontoise)
The Purcell Quartet

Les Gouts-reunis ou Nouveux Concerts (Cinquieme Concert)
Musica Ad Rhenum

Quatrieme livre de Pieces de clavecin, Vingt-troisieme ordre
Christophe Rousset, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod examines the Italian flavours in Couperin's native French style.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

The Couperin Dynasty20181106

Donald Macleod surveys Francois Couperin's musical family tree.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

Donald Macleod surveys Francois Couperin's musical family tree.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

In today's programme, Donald explores ‘Couperin Le Grand’ alongside his many musical relatives. The Couperin family tree was established in the vineyards around Chaumes and nurtured a long line of gifted musicians. Uncle Louis was the first of seven Couperins to serve as organist at St Gervais, including Francois himself and his cousin, Nicolas. Towards the end of his life, Francois’s daughter, Marguerite-Antoniette, took over some of her father’s harpsichord duties at the royal court. Another cousin, Armand-Louis, became a leading composer of the next generation and father to yet more musical Couperins who maintained the family trade right into the 19th century.

Francois Couperin
Regina coeli laetare, Alleluia
Jill Feldman, soprano
Isabelle Poulenard, soprano
Jaap Ter Linden, bass viol
Davitt Moroney, organ

Louis Couperin
Five Fantasies
Pange lingua en basse
Jan Willem Jansen, organ

François Couperin
Quatre versets du motet
Sophie Daneman, soprano
Patricia Petibon, soprano
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Armand-Louis Couperin
Simphonie de clavecins, in D major
Ton Koopman, harpsichord
Tini Mathot, harpsichord

Francois Couperin
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (La Manon)
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (L’Enchanteresse)
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (La Fleurie ou la tendre Nanette)
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (Les plaisirs de Saint Germain en Laye)
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod surveys Francois Couperin's musical family tree.

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.

"

Donald Macleod surveys Francois Couperin's musical family tree.

Donald Macleod marks 350 years since the birth of Francois Couperin, one of France’s most dazzling musical talents. His illustrious rise to fame began with his appointment as organist at St Gervais in Paris while he was still a teenager, and he went on to serve as a composer and harpsichordist at court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Known to his contemporaries as ‘Couperin Le Grand’, he is recognised today as the most important French composer of his generation.

In today's programme, Donald explores ‘Couperin Le Grand’ alongside his many musical relatives. The Couperin family tree was established in the vineyards around Chaumes and nurtured a long line of gifted musicians. Uncle Louis was the first of seven Couperins to serve as organist at St Gervais, including Francois himself and his cousin, Nicolas. Towards the end of his life, Francois’s daughter, Marguerite-Antoniette, took over some of her father’s harpsichord duties at the royal court. Another cousin, Armand-Louis, became a leading composer of the next generation and father to yet more musical Couperins who maintained the family trade right into the 19th century.

Francois Couperin
Regina coeli laetare, Alleluia
Jill Feldman, soprano
Isabelle Poulenard, soprano
Jaap Ter Linden, bass viol
Davitt Moroney, organ

Louis Couperin
Five Fantasies
Pange lingua en basse
Jan Willem Jansen, organ

François Couperin
Quatre versets du motet
Sophie Daneman, soprano
Patricia Petibon, soprano
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie, director

Armand-Louis Couperin
Simphonie de clavecins, in D major
Ton Koopman, harpsichord
Tini Mathot, harpsichord

Francois Couperin
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (La Manon)
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (L’Enchanteresse)
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (La Fleurie ou la tendre Nanette)
Premier Livre de pieces de clavecin, premier ordre (Les plaisirs de Saint Germain en Laye)
Olivier Baumont, harpsichord

Producer Luke Whitlock for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod surveys Francois Couperin's musical family tree.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music."

Donald Macleod explores composers' lives, with great recordings of their best works.