Marouan Mankar-Bennis harpsichord
There are some sumptuous harpsichord sonorities on offer here, occasionally so sumptuous that the dampers don’t quite cope at the ends of pieces. But that doesn’t mar in any way enjoyment of this lively recital in which the instruments (quasi-Couchet and quasi-18th-century French) are used to the full, lute stop and 4’ only included. I like the way in which the programme groups the pieces as an ‘opera for harpsichord’ rather than simply as selections from Livres I-III in published order and the spoken announcements of the section titles in de la Guerre work well – brief and very well timed. The chosen temperaments also play their part in keeping the ear engaged, some choice F minor moments in Le concert des Muses being highlights. The notes (Fr/Eng) by the player stop just short of self-indulgence and self-congratulation and for once the English translation is idiomatic – just one small misprint. In a year when Couperin is to the fore, this is an enjoyable reminder that he was far from being the only claveciniste kid on the block.
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