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Organ Works Of Louis Couperin


davidh
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Francois Couperin (Le Grand) had a musical father and two musical uncles, including Louis Couperin. Unfortunately there is some doubt about whether some of the works attributed to Louis were in fact the work of one (or both) of his brothers.

 

I find his harpsichord works full of colour and excitement, a number of them similar to Francois Couperin's b minor Passacaille. Only two of his organ works were known until in 1957 Guy Oldham discovered a manuscript containing 70 organ pieces. Guy Oldham decided to transcribe and research this music himself, with many musicians eagerly awaiting the day in 2003 when they were all published.

 

Davitt Moroney recorded all of them on the Jean-Boizard organ of 1714 in the Abbey of Saint-Michel-en-Thierache. Davitt Moroney wrote in the programme notes that 68 "were totally unknown, and left no doubt about Couperin's stature. ... Now that the pieces are at last available it is clear that Louis Couperin is an even more important composer than we imagined..."

 

I must admit to having been very disappointed when I first heard them, and couldn't believe that the organ and harpsichord works were by the same composer.

 

More recently I bought Skip Sempe's recording of some of the harpsichord works, and he wrote that "the harpsichord works which have become known as the works of Louis Couperin are so much more convincing in terms of their remarkable strength of fantasy of musical content the the creative finess of a unique keyboard style - elements which form the trademark of "Louis" Couperin - that I find it hard to imagine that the organ pieces in question (whatever their qualities) are the work of the same composer"

 

Do any other contributors know these works, and perhaps play them, and can they comment on (1) Do the harpsichord and organ works seem like the work of one composer and (2) Would you want to hear and play many of them?

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