Couperin: G major Allemande; Les tendres sentiments

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COMPOSERS: Couperin
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Couperin -Pices de clavecin
WORKS: G major Allemande; Les tendres sentiments
PERFORMER: Sophie Yates (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0718
Grandson of Couperin ‘le grand’, Armand-Louis belonged to the last generation of 18th-century harpsichord composers. He died in 1789 at the outbreak of the French Revolution, after being trampled by a horse. Though a prolific composer, he published only a single book of harpsichord pieces, in 1751, which he dedicated to Victoire de France, a daughter of Louis XV – the first piece of the recueil pays tribute to her. Other tributes include one to his future wife, the daughter of one of Europe’s greatest harpsichord builders, in La Blanchet.

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The music’s quality is fairly evenly sustained. Some pieces, like the expressively melancholy G major Allemande, are eloquently crafted and of a substance that intermittently recalls his grandfather’s style. Sophie Yates plays it with a touching sensibility which is further in evidence in ‘Les Tendres Sentiments’, ‘La de Boisgelou’ and the nostalgic ‘La Chéron’. Lighter confectionery, such as ‘Les Cacqueteuses’, though more ephemeral are nevertheless modestly entertaining and to some extent, perhaps, reflect Armand-Louis’s interest in the widening expressive and tonal range available in a new generation of harpsichords. Yates enters into these varied styles with virtuosity and infectious enthusiasm. Nicholas Anderson