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CHAN 0718
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CHAN 0718
Pièces de clavecin

Couperin: Pièces de clavecin

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2005

Originally recorded in 2004


Sophie Yates



Forde Abbey, Somerset


Gary Cole


Gary Cole

Record Label



Early Music

Total Time - 79:05
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Pièces de clavecin



Select Complete Single Disc for
1 La Victoire 6:01
2 Allemande 7:36
3 Courante La de Croissy 3:13
4 Les Cacqueteuses 2:15
5 La Grégoire 4:33
6 L'Intrépide. Rondeau 2:18
7 Menuet I & II 3:59
8 L'Arlequine ou La Adam. Rondeau 2:19
9 La Blanchet 4:01
10 La de Boisgelou 4:14
11 La Foucquet 2:56
12 La Semillante ou La Joly 3:49
13 La Turpin 4:02
14 Gavotte I & II 3:36
15 Menuet I & II 2:07
16 La du Breüil 3:22
17 La Chéron 3:59
18 L'Affligée 5:53
19 L'Enjouéé 2:56
20 Les Tendres Sentiments 3:15
21 Rondeau gracieux 2:41
Armand-Louis Couperin was the nephew of François Couperin, and part of a family which was the dominant musical dynasty in France for around two hundred and fifty years. The music of the younger Couperin is difficult to categorise, since he was writing at a time between the decorative aesthetic of the high baroque and the beginning of the true classical style. Sophie Yates relishes the music of this period, for to her, contained in the rococo period are the elements of the baroque, classical and even romantic styles in embryo, making, she says, ‘a rich and unpredictable mixture of delights’.

Sophie Yates unfailingly receives superb critical acclaim on all her Chaconne releases, and is unrivalled in her interpretations of works by eighteenth-century French composers.

Sophie plays a copy of the Goujon instrument of 1748 by Andrew Garlick. Its decoration has some Flemish aspects to it, since the harpsichords of the illustrious Ruckers family of Antwerp were highly prized in France at the time. The inside of the lid is gilded with chinoiserie and it has an elegant, Louis XV-style stand.

"Armand-Louis Couperin married Elisabeth-Antoine Blanchet. She was the daughter of a musical family almost as significant as the Couperins – the Blanchets were the finest harpsichord-makers in France throughout the eighteenth-century. It is possible that the piece called La Blanchet may actually have been a demonstration piece, composed by Couperin specifically for the purpose of showing off his father-in-law’s instruments.

While some of his pieces demand considerable virtuosity from the player – La Sémillante, for example – it is intriguing to see how much attention to detail has been applied in the interest of sheer prettiness. For instance in La Grégoire the player is required to cross her hands in the arpeggio passages in such a way that the right hand plays the low notes and the left the high ones. Apart from giving the slightest extra articulation during the movement, there is no apparent reason for this. Sophie Yates conjectures that it may very well be for no other reason than that it looks visually appealing, and all the more so with a lace cuff!

Other pieces which deserve particular attention are the harmonically adventurous L’Affligée, the deliciously nostalgic Allemande and L’Intrépide, which has a distinct air of François Couperin’s harmonic language about it. In La Turpin we hear the swagger of the notorious highwayman, whilst the book begins with a dedication to Madame Victoire de France and a piece in her honour.

The rich sound of the instrument is well captured and Sophie Yates’s well-judged tempos and apt registrations do full justice to the often nostalgic music. She also writes her own essay in which she does not shy away from expressing personal views, though she is careful to place A-LC’s music in the fullest context for the listener. This is a rewarding issue.
Early Music Review

Sophie Yates has an instinctive feel for the repertoire and her playing is elegant, stylish and poised. The ornaments have a spontenaeity which, coupled with a vivid characterisation – especially in the faster pieces such as the martial ‘L’Enjouéé’ – lends a freshness to the music.
International Record Review

The music’s quality is fairly evenly sustained. Some pieces, like the expressively melancholy G major Allemande, are eloquently crafted and of a substance that intermittently recalls his grandfather’s style. Sophie Yates plays it with a touching sensibility…
BBC Music Magazine

A bewitching and compelling recital… stunning!
"Gramophone on CHAN 0708 (Rameau,Vol. 2)"

If this disc fails to ignite your enthusiasm for the harpsichord and its repertoire, then probably nothing else will…
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 0598 (La Sophie)

In its own way, this disc is one of La Sophie’s best yet.

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