Couperin: L'art De Toucher Le Clavecin

Album cover art for upc 3760014194085
Label: ALPHA
Catalog: ALPHA408
Format: CD

Fortin, Olivier

“The harpsichord is perfect in its compass, and brilliant in itself; but, as one can neither swell nor diminish its notes, I shall always be grateful to those who, through consummate art sustained by good taste, manage to make this instrument capable of expression.” Why is it difficult to play the music of Francois Couperin when it seems so simple at first glance? By offering precious information on the interpretation of his music (and more generally on the interpretation of French music of his time) in his treatise L’Art de toucher le clavecin (The art of harpsichord playing), Couperin provides us with the necessary elements for today’s performer, who seeks above all to respect the composer’s intentions. However, fear of not going beyond the indications given by the latter and excessive attention to every detail can inhibit inspiration and distract from the purpose of the works. Like the French language, it consists of rules but also of many exceptions. Modern grammars and dictionaries give us complete, firm, infallible answers to all these questions. But things were quite different at the time. Canadian harpsichordist Olivier Fortin has chosen this music for his new release. Olivier Fortin is founder (1996) and director of the Montreal-based early music Ensemble Masques. He is increasingly esteemed as a soloist and chamber musician, touring and recording throughout Europe, the United States and Canada with ensembles such as Ensemble Masques, Capriccio Stravagante, Tafelmusik, Chanticleer, the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal and Les Voix Humaines as well as playing with Skip Sempé and Pierre Hantaï in a harpsichord trio.

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