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Couperin: Complete Harpsichord Music / Massimo Berghella [5 CDs]

Couperin: Complete Harpsichord Music / Massimo Berghella [5 CDs]

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Louis Couperin (1626-1661) has long been a fabled name among French keyboard composers. Born in the provinces in the late 1620s, he was 'discovered' by the visiting court harpsichordist Jacques Champion Chambonnières in about 1650; soon he had an appointment at court and was titulaire of the organ at St Gervais in Paris, founding the Couperin dynasty that included most prominently his nephew, François Couperin 'le grand'. Performers and listeners alike have long gravitated to Louis Couperin's music more than to that of any other member of the French keyboard school of the time, probably because of its fascinating and surprising harmonic language. There are 129 pieces catalogued as authentic. Among these, the unmeasured Preludes stand outas a kind of controlled improvisation in which Couperin gives us 16 examples of a genre that began life in the hands of the lutenists and now finds itself at the very peak of 17th century French harpsichord music. The Preludes present a sequence of semibreves devoid of indication, the only guide to the manner of performance being the positioning of the semibreves (in itself often confusing), and a complex system of elaborate and elegant slurring. They invite a rich decorative language, but scholars and performers alike must delve deep into Couperin’s world in order to establish the grammar and vocabulary of that language. In making this new recording of all 129 pieces, Massimo Berghella has chosen to take the Preludes as starting points for ‘suites’ – 17 in all – which gather up the remaining dance movements into coherent sequences cast in the same key as the relevant Prelude. This produces suites of greatly differing length – the E minor has only four movements, for example, but the D minor has ten – but makes good sense along both 17th- and 21st-century lines. Among the most distinguished active Italian harpsichordists, Massimo Bergella studied with Kenneth Gilbert at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. He has a 30-year-long career as a teacher himself, as well as a performance diary and discography that has taken him across Europe for recitals, broadcasts and recordings. Of a previous album of d’Anglebert, La Nazione remarked that Berghella ‘grasps the reconstructive necessity of the scores, performing them in all their poetic complexity.’

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 5
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Brilliant Classics
    • UPC/Barcode: 5028421962382
    • Item Number: BRI96238