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Thread: Louis Couperin (1626(?) - 1661)

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Default Louis Couperin (1626(?) - 1661)


    Little is know of his early life. A 1732 book by Évrard Titon du Tillet, contains a biographical sketch describing certain details of his life. It states that he died at the age of 35, hence the putative birth date.

    Couperin’s father, a merchant and small landowner in Chaumes-en-Brie, France, was also the organist of the local abbey church, and Louis and his two younger brothers, François (c. 1631–1708/12) and Charles (1638–79), learned to play respectably on the violin, viol, harpsichord, and organ.

    The story of his rise to fame may be apocryphal. It is claimed that the three Couperins - Louis, François and Charles - walked the 10 or so miles to the château of Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, the noted harpsichordist, on the feat of St James in 1650. Together with some friends they gave a concert including some of Louis' compositions. Chambonnières was so impressed that he gave Louis lessons and presented him at court where he was an immediate success.

    The two younger brothers followed him to Paris and also became successful musicians. François was described as a “great musician and great drunk”; no compositions are known, but his line of the family carried the name of Couperin into the 19th century. Charles succeeded Louis at Saint-Gervais and, in 1668, produced an only child, François Couperin le Grand, who stands far above all the other Couperins with the exception of Louis.

    Louis may have met Froberger who was in Paris between1651 and 1652 and this may have had an influence on his style. In 1653 Louis became the first Couperin to occupy the post of organist at the Church of Saint-Gervais, situated across from Notre-Dame Cathedral. (This position was held by members of the Couperin family until 1826) He also held a court appointment as a treble viol player, but it was for his performing ability as a harpsichordist that he was best known.

    Approximately 215 of Couperin's works survive today, although it is very likely that he composed many more. Most of his compositions are works for keyboard, and indeed Couperin is considered one of the greatest French keyboard composers of the seventeenth century. His oeuvre includes a great deal of music for organ, including a number of fugues, as well as music for the harpsichord. Couperin's harpsichord music has generated the most interest over the centuries: comprised largely of short dance pieces -- allemandes, courantes, gigues, sarabandes, etc. -- the harpsichord music is remarkable for its intensity and sudden harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic gestures. He also wrote few division basses (imitating the style of bass viol solos).

    Sources : HOASM Britannica Musicology All Music
    Last edited by Taggart; Dec-03-2018 at 11:54.
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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    A Pavanne



    Suite in D minor

    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post


    Louis may have met Froberger who was in Paris between1651 and 1652 and this may have had an influence on his style.

    I was quite surprised to read the cautious way that you've put this/ Can there really be any doubt that the two met? He clearly knew about Froberger's music. They lived in the same city at the same time. They had a mutual acquaintance in Blancrocher. How else could he have known about Froberger's music if he hadn't known him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post

    Approximately 215 of Couperin's works survive today . . . His oeuvre includes a great deal of music for organ, including a number of fugues
    Many of them with disputable attribution -- especially the organ pieces, the fantaisies and fugues (some people have argued that they're probably Charles's work. On the other hand I once heard Davitt Moroney say that we can be more confident that the organ music is Louis' than we can be that the suites are Louis', I'm not sure how serious he was being.)
    Last edited by Mandryka; Dec-03-2018 at 16:50.

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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Louis Couperin - Pièces pour Clavecin / Harpsichord (Century’s recording : Blandine Verlet)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qgWZxIYRFc

    L'oeuvre d'orgue Louis Couperin - Complete organ works of Louis Couperin - Davitt Moroney
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSP7XYqxNpk

    Celestial feast for the ears!
    Last edited by Ingélou; Dec-05-2018 at 11:02.
    My fiddle my joy.

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