Mrn Couperin

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COMPOSERS: Mrn Couperin
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Livre de tablature de clavescin
PERFORMER: Davitt Moroney (harpsichord, Italian virginal)
This is the premiere recording of a manuscript of French Baroque keyboard works discovered in a private collection in Turin in 1997. In a fascinating piece of detective work, Davitt ‘Sherlock’ Moroney identified that the book was compiled by a little-known member of the great Couperin dynasty, Marc Roger Normand, and that it includes several pieces by him. A first cousin of François Couperin le Grand, Marc Roger emigrated to the Turin court in the late 1680s. The identification is particularly valuable since none of his music was previously thought extant, and also since it throws into question the authorship of three pieces traditionally attributed to Louis Couperin. The book also includes dances and airs by Marc Roger’s compatriots Chambonnières, Le Bègue, Hardel and Militon, as well as keyboard arrangements of favourite numbers from Lully’s stage works.


The manuscript’s 57 pieces, grouped into Suites, are gracious and elegant works, their melodic lines quivering with intricate decoration. The music never quite reaches the profundity of Louis or François Couperin, but it makes for agreeable listening. Moroney’s direct involvement with the identification of the source makes him the ideal ambassador: these are committed, highly intelligent and impeccably controlled performances which breathe the rarefied air of French Baroque style. Kate Bolton