Couperin: Concerts royaux

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COMPOSERS: Couperin
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Concerts royaux
PERFORMER: Barthold Kuijken, Frans Brüggen (flute), Jürg Schaeftlein (oboe), Milan Turkovic (bassoon), Sigiswald Kuijken (violin, bass viol), Janine Rubinlicht (violin), Wieland Kuijken (bass viol), Robert Kohnen (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: SBK 60370 ADD Reissue (1973)
Critical opinion was divided when these performances of Couperin’s four Concerts royaux were first issued in the mid-Seventies. The gestures which we now take for granted in French Baroque music, and which characterise the Kuijkens’ approach, struck some ears as overly mannered a quarter of a century ago. Few listeners will think so now, though the playing itself is variable in tonal security, with a lamentably flat-pitched oboe conspicuous, above all, in the Allemande and Gavotte of the Premier Concert. The frequent change of instrumental colour from movement to movement offers a somewhat restless, indecisive picture of this intrinsically satisfying music, but few will be other than delighted by the measured gait of the Forlane, which concludes the Quatrième Concert. Nicholas Anderson

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