Corbetta, Louis Couperin, Franois Couperin, Froberger & Visée

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Corbetta,Franois Couperin,Froberger & Visée,Louis Couperin
LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: La Harpe Royale
WORKS: Works by Corbetta, Louis Couperin, François Couperin, Froberger & Visée
PERFORMER: Andrew Lawrence-King (harp)
CATALOGUE NO: 05472 77371 2

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This anthology of pieces by Corbetta, Louis and François Couperin, de Visée and Froberger is played, not on harpsichord as one might expect, but on a modern copy of Italian triple-strung harps which were considerably larger, with a bigger compass, longer, lighter strings and a boomier sound than their French counterparts. It is not truly authentic, therefore, despite the use of a period instrument. Nonetheless, the pieces chosen are an excellent vehicle to convey Lawrence-King’s flawless virtuosity. The tuning appears to be mostly in equal temperament, which diminishes the effect of distant chords and dissonances except for pieces such as Froberger’s Lamento, where the temperament used reflects the pathos of the piece’s title. The Baroque harp’s sound is softer-edged than the harpsichord’s and less variety of voicing is possible. Lawrence-King avoids pieces which are too contrapuntal, for which the resonance of the harp is not ideal, although in Les carillons de Paris by Louis Couperin it is beneficial. There is a lovely sense of dance style especially in such dances as Visée’s Sarabande, known to some from the film Les jeux interdits. Notwithstanding a slightly over-resonant acoustic, this is an accomplished and confidently performed disc.

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Danielle Perrett