Wandering Shades – Les ombres errantes

Floral design

The Final Harpsichord Works of François Couperin
Katherine Roberts Perl harpsichord
Music & Arts CD-1284

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ouperin’s last four ordres  are here played almost complete (selections only from no. 24) in a way that to me emphasises the melancholy tinge of this lovely music. Pacing is very deliberate, though not ponderous, the ornaments never sound crammed in and the phrases have time to breathe. The harpsichord (modern, after Dumont 1707) is well recorded and has an even tone with distinct yet blending registers. In this anniversary year especially it is a shame that the booklet (English only) is not a little stronger. The player’s note on performance is valuable but the Couperin biographical summary is more about reception history and we are told virtually nothing about the specific music recorded. Neither is there any attempt to even translate, let alone explain, the pieces’ titles. In these days of the download, I think that those who still purchase CDs deserve a bit more.

David Hansell

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