Edited by Jon Baxendale
184 pp (h
It has always frustrated me that past generations of editors have thought it just fine to publish music in non-specialist, mass-distribution editions in a form that is not fully suitable for performance. I am thinking in particular of renaissance music that lacks any indication that a plainchant incipit or insertion is needed and liturgical organ music that gives no hint of the chant that should surround it.
Well, at long last this latter issue has been addressed, at least for Couperin, by this handsome new edition of his two organ masses which may prove to be the most enduring memorial to have been stimulated by the composer’s 350th anniversary year – it has already been used for three recordings. An editorial re-consideration of the masses was long overdue. Their sources are complicated by the fact that the music, though ‘published’ by the composer, was never actually engraved and printed: what you bought was a printed title page but a manuscript copy of the notes themselves. In a spectacular piece of diligent
Indeed, what this publication contains in addition to the music is at least as important as it is. The lengthy introduction explores Couperin’s early life as an organist and the sources of the music; offers advice on performance style and ornamentation; and explains that this music is in the
As an organist myself, I value the edition’s landscape format, the clarity of the print and
I honestly think that this is the publication that those who play the French Baroque organ repertoire have
I declare an interest in that I did see and comment on an early version of the edition but I did none of – and claim no credit for any of – the research and do not benefit financially from sales!