Couperin: Les Nations / Rousset
LES TALENS LYRIQUES ROUSSET
Best known today as a composer of harpsichord music, François Couperin remained deeply involved in chamber music. His four inventive trio sonatas and suites entitled Les Nations allege to explore the different musical styles of France and Italy. In fact, each nation’s sonata is more likely Corellian and they’re all flavoured by a freeform virtuosity and elaborate French dance suite. Probably inspired by Corelli’s pages, whose Trio Sonata Books appeared in the 1680s, Couperin first composed ‘La Pucelle’, ‘La Visionnaire’ and ‘L’Astrée’. They are subsequently entitled ‘La Françoise’, ‘L’Espagnole’, ‘L’Impériale’ and ‘La Piémontoise’. Despite these solemn titles, Les Nations are made more nimble by a mysterious charm as the French and Italian styles mingle. As a crowning final of Couperin’s anniversary year, Christophe Rousset and his Talens Lyriques deliver a long-matured version of Les Nations: pure beauty and grace.