"His melodic imagination displays admirable freshness. He possesses a delicate harmonic sense. His themes show the inspirations of an impassioned musician: perfectly created, firm in line, vivid, and enduring in color. His art never wavers; it consistently exhibits a magnificent technique." -- John Gillespie, Five Centuries of Keyboard Music
This famous edition, prepared a century ago by Johannes Brahms and Friedrich Chrysander, presents all of the 27 keyboard suites, or Ordres, by the great French composer Fran ois Couperin (1668-1733). Also included are the Allemande and 8 Preludes from Couperin's famous harpsichord treatise, L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin.
In these magnificent works (there are over 200 compositions in the two volumes) lies the supreme achievement of French keyboard music, a rich source of subtle, sometimes startling, always pleasurable music for keyboard artists and students at every level of expertise. The moods, rhythms, and melodies of these distinctive compositions range across a broad musical spectrum, from crisp gavottes to noble sarabandes, from flowing allemandes to lively gigues. Some of the pieces suggest carnival merriment, others tender reflection; most have colorful and mysterious names. Couperin's virtuoso command of harpsichord style, his magnificent technique, and ever-fresh melodic imagination pervade them all.
Witty, graceful, and tuneful, the keyboard works of Couperin represent a wonderful legacy of late-baroque masterpieces. Beautifully reproduced in this inexpensive edition, they make abundantly clear the justice of Bach's intense admiration for Couperin's music and the aptness of the French master's surname -- "le grand."