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François Couperin – Les Nations

François Couperin – Les Nations

Recorded in 1993.

About the artist:
François Couperin (10 November 1668 – 11 September 1733) was a French Baroque composer, organist and harpsichordist. François Couperin was known as “Couperin le Grand” (Couperin the Great) to distinguish him from the other members of the musically talented Couperin family. He was born in Paris. He was taught by his father, Charles Couperin, who died when François was 10, and by Jacques Thomelin. In 1685 he became the organist at the church of Saint-Gervais, Paris, a post he inherited from his father and that he would pass on to his cousin, Nicolas Couperin. Other members of the family would hold the same position in later years. In 1693 Couperin succeeded his teacher Thomelin as organist at the Chapelle Royale (Royal Chapel) with the title organiste du Roi, organist by appointment to the King. This was the Sun King, Louis XIV. In 1717 Couperin became court organist and composer, with the title ordinaire de la musique de la chambre du Roi. With his colleagues, Couperin gave a weekly concert, typically on Sunday. Many of these concerts were in the form of suites for violin, viol, oboe, bassoon and harpsichord, on which he was a virtuoso player. Couperin died in Paris in 1733.

About this work:
Les Nations is a collection of chamber works published by François Couperin in 1726.  Issued in four separate books, it was intended “for the use of music academies and concerts,” according to its title heading. It contains four extended works that feature movements in the French or the Italian manner, resulting in hybrid pieces that encompass both of the then sharply opposed styles. Such reconciliation runs like an idée fixe throughout Couperin’s life, reaching its fruition in the true fusion achieved in the Apotheosis of Corelli (1724) and the Apotheosis of Lully (1725). Early in his career Couperin fell under the spell of Corelli’s enormously successful trio sonatas for two violins and continuo, which had become familiar all over Europe.  During the 1690s, he composed six sonatas in the da chiesa (church) style, clearly influenced by those of Corelli. Three of these were taken to form the Italian part of the works that appeared as Les Nations. To the four Italian movements in the typical slow-fast-slow-fast pattern of the church sonata, Couperin added four sets of dances in the French style, adapting the names previously given them in three instances: La Pucelle became La Françoise, La Visionnaire was renamed L’Espagnole, and L’Astrée became La Piémontoise. To these was added another bipartite sonata, L’Impériale, the da chiesa section of which comes from a sonata possibly composed around 1715.  Although these works were almost certainly intended for two violins and continuo (harpsichord and bass viol), Couperin left no precise instructions as to instrumentation. Like many chamber works of the period, they are therefore also suitable for oboes or flutes, or combinations featuring the violin, flute, and oboe.


Track List:
01. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – I. Sonade (6:48)
02. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – II. Allemande (3:32)
03. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – III. Première Courante (1:33)
04. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – IV. Seconde Courante (1:30)
05. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – V. Sarabande (2:38)
06. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – VI. Gigue (1:22)
07. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – VII. Chaconne ou Passacaille (3:04)
08. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – VIII. Gavotte (0:57)
09. Premier Ordre: La Francoise – IX. Menuet (1:29)
10. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – I. Sonade (8:37)
11. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – II. Allemande (2:40)
12. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – III. Courante (1:43)
13. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – IV. Seconde courante (1:52)
14. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – V. Sarabande (3:01)
15. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – VI. Gigue Lourée (2:35)
16. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – VII. Gavotte (1:06)
17. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – VIII. Rondeau (3:46)
18. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – IX. Bourée. Double de la Bourée précédente (2:00)
19. Second Ordre: L’Espagnole – X. Passacaille (4:50)
01. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – I. Sonade (10:46)
02. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – II. Allemande (2:22)
03. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – III. Courante (1:43)
04. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – IV. Seconde Courante (1:43)
05. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – V. Sarabande (3:07)
06. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – VI. Bourée (1:12)
07. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – VII. Gigue (1:07)
08. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – VIII. Rondeau (2:20)
09. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – IX. Chaconne (5:26)
10. Troisiéme Ordre: L’Impériale – X. Menuet (0:58)
11. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – I. Sonade (9:01)
12. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – II. Allemande (2:37)
13. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – III. Courante (1:32)
14. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – IV. Seconde Courante (2:09)
15. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – V. Sarabande (4:01)
16. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – VI. Rondeau (2:36)
17. Quatriéme Ordre: La Piémontoise – VII. Gigue (1:47)

Stereo, ADD, mp3, 320 kbps, 1 hour 49 minutes. Covers & info included.

Part1 —–   Part2 —–   Part3