Mount Parnassus is a mountain of limestone in central Greece that towers above Delphi, north of the Gulf of Corinth, offers scenic views of the surrounding olive groves and countryside. According to Greek mythology, this mountain was sacred to the Dionysian mysteries; the mountain was favored by the Dorians. It is suggested that the name derives from parnassas, the possessive adjective of the Luwian word parna meaning house, or temple, so the name means the mountain of the house of the god. Parnassus is one of the largest mountainous regions of Mainland Greece and one of the highest Greek mountains, it spreads over three municipalities, namely of Boeotia and Phocis, where its largest part lies. Its altitude is 2,457 meters and its highest peak is Liakouras. To the Northeast it is connected to the south with Kirphe, its name is due to the homonymous hero of the Greek mythology, son of Cleopompus and Cleodora, who had built on the mountain a city, destroyed in the Deluge of Deukalion. Etymological analysis, shows a prehellenic origin of the name, relating it to the Pelasgians, it appears to be from the Anatolian language Luwian.
The mountain is delimited to the east by the valley of the Boeotian Kephissus and to the West by the valley of Amfissa. The geological particularity of Parnassus is its rich deposits of bauxite, which has led to their systematic mining since the end of the 1930s, resulting in ecological damage to part of the mountain. Mount Parnassus is named after the son of the nymph Kleodora and the man Kleopompus. A city, of which Parnassos was leader, was flooded by torrential rains; the citizens ran from following wolves' howling, up the mountain slope. There the survivors built another city, called it Lykoreia, which in Greek means "the howling of the wolves." While Orpheus was living with his mother and his eight beautiful aunts on Parnassus, he met Apollo, courting the laughing muse Thalia. Apollo became fond of Orpheus and gave him a little golden lyre, taught him to play it. Orpheus's mother taught him to make verses for singing; as the Oracle of Delphi was sacred to the god Apollo, so did the mountain itself become associated with Apollo.
According to some traditions, Parnassus was the site of the fountain Castalia and the home of the Muses. As the home of the Muses, Parnassus became known as the home of poetry and learning. Parnassus was the site of several unrelated minor events in Greek mythology. In some versions of the Greek flood myth, the ark of Deucalion comes to rest on the slopes of Parnassus; this is the version of the myth recounted in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Orestes spent his time in hiding on Mount Parnassus. Parnassus was sacred to the god Dionysus; the Corycian Cave, located on the slopes of Parnassus, was sacred to the Muses. In Book 19 of The Odyssey, Odysseus recounts a story of how he was gored in the thigh during a boar hunt on Mount Parnassus in his youth. Parnassus was the home of Pegasus, the winged horse of Bellerophon; this relation of the mountain to the Muses offered an instigation to its more recent "mystification", with the poetic-artistic trend of the 19th century called "Parnassism". The Parnassic movement was established in France in the decade 1866–1876 as a reaction to Romanticism with a return to some classicistic elements and belief in the doctrine "Art for the Art", first expressed by Theophile Gautier.
The periodical Modern Parnassus issued for the first time by Catul Mendes and Xavier Ricard contained direct references to Mt. Parnassus and its mythological feature as habitation of the Muses; the Parnassists, who did not exceed a group of twenty poets, exercised a strong influence on the cultural life of Paris due to their tenacity on perfection of rhyme and vocabulary. Parnassism influenced several French poets, but it exercised an influence on Modern Greek poets Kostis Palamas and Gryparis; the name of the mountain was given to a quarter of Paris on the left bank of the Seine, where artists and poets used to gather and recite their poems in public. Montparnasse is nowadays one of the most renowned quarters of the city and in its cemetery many personalities of the arts and culture are buried. Parnassus figures earlier in Jonathan Swift's The Battle of the Books as the site of an ideological war between the ancients and the moderns; the significant biodiversity, both in flora and in fauna, led the authorities to the establishment of the National Park of Parnassus in 1938, the year when the systematic mining of bauxite started.
The Park comprises a landscape of 15,000 hectares spreading on the mountainous region between Delphi and Agoriani. Among the endemic flora species under protection are the Cephalonian fir tree and the Parnassian peony. In the Park sojourn prey birds and wolves, boars and weasels; the slopes of Mount Parnassus are composed of two ski sections and Fterolakka, which together make up the largest ski center in Greece. A smaller ski center called. Parnassus is mined for its abundant supply of bauxite, converted to aluminium oxide and to aluminium; the construction of the ski resort started in 1975 and was completed in 1976, when the first two drag lifts operated in Fterolaka. In 1981 the construction of a new ski area was completed in Kelaria, while in winter season 1987–1988 the chair lift Hermes started operat
Les Barricades Mystérieuses
Les Barricades Mystérieuses is a piece of music that François Couperin composed for harpsichord in 1717. It is the fifth piece in his "Ordre 6ème de clavecin" in B-flat major, from his second book of collected harpsichord pieces, it is emblematic of the style brisé characteristic of French Baroque keyboard music. The work is in rondeau form, employing a variant of the traditional romanesca in the bass in quadruple time rather than the usual triple time. "The four parts create an ever-changing tapestry of melody and harmony and overlapping with different rhythmic schemes and melodies. The effect is shimmering and seductive, a sonic trompe l'oeil that seem to have presaged images of fractal mathematics, centuries before they existed." The piece was voted at #76 in the Australian 2012 Classic 100 music of France countdown. Les Barricades Mystérieuses was published with the spelling Les Baricades Mistérieuses. All four possible spelling combinations have since been used with "double r" and a "y" being the most common.
There has been much speculation on the meaning of the phrase "mysterious barricades" with no direct evidence available to back up any theory. Of those that link the title to features of the music itself, Evnine believes harpsichordist Luke Arnason's is the most plausible: "The title Les Barricades Mystérieuses is meant to be evocative rather than a reference to a specific object, musical or otherwise. Scott Ross, in a master class filmed and distributed by Harmonia Mundi, likens the piece to a train; this cannot have been the precise image Couperin was trying to convey, but it is easy to hear in Les Barricades the image of a heavy but fast-moving object that picks up momentum. In that sense, the mysterious barricades are those which cause the "train" to slow down and sometimes stop... This hypothesis seems to fit in with the pedagogical aims of Couperin's music, since the composer presents himself as something of a specialist in building sound through legato, style luthé playing... Moreover, it seems to form a set with Les Bergeries.
This latter piece, though more melodic than Les Barricades, set in a higher register and more bucolic in feeling, is an exercise in using a repetitive motif to build sound without seeming mechanical or repetitive. Both Les Barricades Mystérieuses and Les Bergeries are exercises in building sound and momentum elegantly. While the title reflects the musical structure, there may be more at play; the suggestion of barricades is "a double entendre referring to feminine virginity and the suspensions harmonic of the music, lute figurations are imitated to produce an enigmatic stalemate", as Judith Robison Kipnis explained the work's title and its interpretation by her husband Igor Kipnis. Other suggested meanings for the title include: impeding communication between people between past and present or present and future between life and death between the immanent and transcendent women's underwear, or chastity belts a common way of referring to women's eyelashes among the Salonnière of the 17th century masks worn by performers of Le Mystère ou les Fêtes de l'Inconnu staged by one of Couperin's patrons, the Duchesse du Maine in 1714 a "technical joke...the continuous suspensions in the lute style being a barricade to the basic harmony".
The piece has been used as a source of inspiration by many others across different artistic fields including music, visual arts and literature. Some have used the title while others have created new works inspired by the original. 1971 Moog synthesizer rendition titled Variations on Couperin's Rondeau on the album "Short Circuits" by Ruth White. 1973 harpsichord piece titled Barricades. On the album "Bhajebochstiannanas" by Anthony Newman. 1982 piece for Sinclavier, "Las Barricadas Misteriosas" composed by Sergio Barroso. 1984 written for, incorporating texts by Christopher Hewitt, a piece for women's chorus, bassoon and clapping titled "Les Barricades Mysteriéuses" by Juilliard composer Andrew Thomas. 1986 album titled Heavenly Bodies including the "Appia Suite", one movement of, titled "Les Barricades mystérieuses", by British Jazz composer Barbara Thompson. Rerecorded in the same year to be the title track of the German film Zischke. 1987 piece for solo guitar by John Williams on his album "The Baroque Album" 1988 rock piece titled "Mysterious Barricades" on the album of the same name by former Police guitarist Andy Summers.
1989 work for flute and orchestra called "Les Barricades Mystérieuses" by Luca Francesconi. 1989 piece for three recorders called "Les Barricades" by Matthias Maute. 1990 a harpsichord concerto titled "Mysterious Barricades" commissioned by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony composed by Tyler White. 1994 quintet arrangement for clarinet, bass clarinet, viola and double bass in the album "America: A prophecy" by Thomas Adès. 1994 piece for solo guitar titled "Mysterious Habitats" by Serbian guitarist Dusan Bogdanovic. 1995 sextet arrangement for flute, clarinet, violin and cello titled "Les Barricades mystérieuses", the fourth of nine movements that make up the composition Récréations françaises by French composer Gérard Pesson. 1995 commissioned by the Villa-Lobos Orchestra for 12 cellos, Le Barricate Misteriose composed by Italian composer Gabriella Zen. Mid-90's solo percussion and el
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris; the palace is now a Monument historique and UNESCO World Heritage site, notable for the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the jewel-like Royal Opera, the royal apartments. The Palace was stripped of all its furnishings after the French Revolution, but many pieces have been returned and many of the palace rooms have been restored. In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower; the site of the Palace was first occupied by a small village and church, surrounded by forests filled with abundant game. It was owned by the priory of Saint Julian. King Henry IV went hunting there in 1589, returned in 1604 and 1609, staying in the village inn.
His son, the future Louis XIII, came on his own hunting trip there in 1607. After he became King in 1610, Louis XIII returned to the village, bought some land, in 1623-24 built a modest two-story hunting lodge on the site of the current marble courtyard, he was staying there in November 1630 during the event known as the Day of the Dupes, when the enemies of the King's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, aided by the King's mother, Marie de' Medici, tried to take over the government. The King sent his mother into exile. After this event, Louis XIII decided to make his hunting lodge at Versailles into a château; the King purchased the surrounding territory from the Gondi family, in 1631–1634 had the architect Philibert Le Roy replace the hunting lodge with a château of brick and stone with classical pilasters in the doric style and high slate-covered roofs, surrounding the courtyard of the original hunting lodge. The gardens and park were enlarged, laid out by Jacques Boyceau and his nephew, Jacques de Menours, reached the size they have today.
Louis XIV first visited the château on a hunting trip in 1651 at the age of twelve, but returned only until his marriage to Maria Theresa of Spain in 1660 and the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, after which he acquired a passion for the site. He decided to rebuild and enlarge the château and to transform it into a setting for both rest and for elaborate entertainments on a grand scale; the first phase of the expansion was supervised by the architect Louis Le Vau. He added two wings to the forecourt, one for servants quarters and kitchens, the other for stables. In 1668 he added three new wings built of stone, known as the envelope, to the north and west of the original château; these buildings had nearly-flat roofs covered with lead. The king commissioned the landscape designer André Le Nôtre to create the most magnificent gardens in Europe, embellished with fountains, basins, geometric flower beds and groves of trees, he added two grottos in the Italian style and an immense orangerie to house fruit trees, as well as a zoo with a central pavilion for exotic animals.
After Le Vau's death in 1670, the work was taken over and completed by his assistant François d'Orbay. The main floor of the new palace contained two symmetrical sets of apartments, one for the king and the other for the queen, looking over the gardens; the two apartments were separated by a marble terrace, overlooking the garden, with a fountain in the center. Each set of apartments was connected to the ground floor with a ceremonial stairway, each had seven rooms, aligned in a row. On the ground floor under the King's apartment was another apartment, the same size, designed for his private life, decorated on the theme of Apollo, the Sun god, his personal emblem. Under the Queen's apartment was the apartment of the Grand Dauphin, the heir to the throne; the interior decoration was assigned to Charles Le Brun. Le Brun supervised the work of a large group of sculptors and painters, called the Petite Academie, who crafted and painted the ornate walls and ceilings. Le Brun supervised the design and installation of countless statues in the gardens.
The grand stairway to the King's apartment was soon redecorated as soon as it was completed with plaques of colored marble and trophies of arms and balconies, so the members of the court could observe the processions of the King. In 1670, Le Vau added a new pavilion northwest of the chateau, called the Trianon, for the King's relaxation in the hot summers, it was surrounded by flowerbeds and decorated with blue and white porcelain, in imitation of the Chinese style. The King spent his days in Versailles, the government and courtiers, numbering six to seven thousand persons, crowded into the buildings; the King ordered a further enlargement, which he entrusted to the young architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Hadouin-Mansart added two large new wings on either side of the original Cour Royale, he replaced Le Vau's large terrace, facing the garden on the west, with what bec
Baroque music is a period or style of Western art music composed from 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, is now studied and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Dieterich Buxtehude, Johann Pachelbel; the Baroque period saw the creation of common-practice tonality, an approach to writing music in which a song or piece is written in a particular key. During the Baroque era, professional musicians were expected to be accomplished improvisers of both solo melodic lines and accompaniment parts. Baroque concerts were accompanied by a basso continuo group while a group of bass instruments—viol, double bass—played the bassline.
A characteristic Baroque form was the dance suite. While the pieces in a dance suite were inspired by actual dance music, dance suites were designed purely for listening, not for accompanying dancers. During the period and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation, made changes in musical notation, developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size and complexity of instrumental performance, established the mixed vocal/instrumental forms of opera and oratorio and the instrumental forms of the solo concerto and sonata as musical genres. Many musical terms and concepts from this era, such as toccata and concerto grosso are still in use in the 2010s. Dense, complex polyphonic music, in which multiple independent melody lines were performed was an important part of many Baroque choral and instrumental works; the term "baroque" comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning "misshapen pearl". Negative connotations of the term first occurred in 1734, in a criticism of an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau, in a description by Charles de Brosses of the ornate and ornamented architecture of the Pamphili Palace in Rome.
Although the term continued to be applied to architecture and art criticism through the 19th century, it was not until the 20th century that the term "baroque" was adopted from Heinrich Wölfflin's art-history vocabulary to designate a historical period in music. The term "baroque" is used by music historians to describe a broad range of styles from a wide geographic region in Europe, composed over a period of 150 years. Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734; the critic implied that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances changed key and meter, speedily ran through every compositional device. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a musician and composer as well as philosopher, wrote in 1768 in the Encyclopédie: "Baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, loaded with modulations and dissonances.
The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, the movement limited. It appears that term comes from the word'baroco' used by logicians." Rousseau was referring to the philosophical term baroco, in use since the 13th century to describe a type of elaborate and, for some, unnecessarily complicated academic argument. The systematic application by historians of the term "baroque" to music of this period is a recent development. In 1919, Curt Sachs became the first to apply the five characteristics of Heinrich Wölfflin's theory of the Baroque systematically to music. Critics were quick to question the attempt to transpose Wölfflin's categories to music, in the second quarter of the 20th century independent attempts were made by Manfred Bukofzer and by Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune to use autonomous, technical analysis rather than comparative abstractions, in order to avoid the adaptation of theories based on the plastic arts and literature to music. All of these efforts resulted in appreciable disagreement about time boundaries of the period concerning when it began.
In English the term acquired currency only in the 1940s, in the writings of Bukofzer and Paul Henry Lang. As late as 1960, there was still considerable dispute in academic circles in France and Britain, whether it was meaningful to lump together music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach under a single rubric; the term has become used and accepted for this broad range of music. It may be helpful to distinguish the Baroque from both the preceding and following periods of musical history; the Baroque perio
Louis Couperin was a French Baroque composer and performer. He was born in Chaumes-en-Brie and moved to Paris in 1650–1651 with the help of Jacques Champion de Chambonnières. Couperin worked as musician at the court, he became one of the most prominent Parisian musicians, establishing himself as a harpsichordist and violist, but his career was cut short by his early death at the age of thirty-five. None of Couperin's music was published during his lifetime, but manuscript copies of some 200 pieces survive, some of them only rediscovered in the mid-20th century; the first important member of the Couperin family, Couperin made seminal contributions to the development of both the French organ school and French harpsichord school. His innovations included composing organ pieces for specific registrations and inventing the genre of the unmeasured prelude for harpsichord, for which he devised a special type of notation. Most of the information about Couperin's life comes from two sources. Le Parnasse François, a 1732 book by Évrard Titon du Tillet, contains a biographical sketch describing certain details of his life, some 30 organ pieces listed not only the date but the place of composition.
Couperin was born around 1626 in a town 40 km south-east of Paris. His father, Charles Couperin, sieur de Crouilly, was a small landowner and part-time organist of a local church. Louis was an accomplished harpsichordist and violinist by 1650, but had no connections whatsoever with any important musicians of the era, his sudden rise to fame, which happened during 1650–1651, is explained in Le Parnasse François. Titon du Tillet writes that Louis, his two younger brothers Charles and François, some of their friends visited Jacques Champion de Chambonnières on the feast of Saint James—Chambonnières' name day; the Couperins offered the host and his guests a short concert, playing several pieces composed by Louis. Chambonnières was impressed by Louis Couperin's talents, became his teacher and persuaded him to settle in Paris. There Chambonnières, the most prominent French harpsichordist of his time and musician to the King, introduced the young musician to the Court, he certainly met Johann Jakob Froberger in 1651–1652.
On 9 April 1653 he became organist of the Parisian church of St. Gervais, where he was paid 400 livres a year, plus lodgings; the position at this ancient church was one of the most important in France at the time. At some point — most after he became organist at St. Gervais — Couperin entered the royal service as a treble viol player. Titon du Tillet writes that Couperin had refused, out of loyalty to his old friend and teacher, to replace Chambonnières as royal harpsichordist, so the post of violist was created for him. On 22 October 1655 he stood godfather to his sister's child at Chaumes-en-Brie, he traveled to Toulouse with the court in 1659. During his last years, Couperin lived in the organist's lodgings at St. Gervais with his two brothers, died on 29 August 1661, aged thirty-five according to Le Parnasse François, his brothers both played an important role in the development of French Baroque music. No compositions by François are known to survive, but his line of the family carried the name of Couperin into the 19th century.
Charles Couperin succeeded Louis as organist at St. Gervais and, in 1668, produced an only child, François Couperin le Grand, who became one of the most important French composers of the late Baroque era; because his career spanned only some 10 years, none of Couperin's works were published during his lifetime. There are two major manuscript sources for his music: The famous Bauyn manuscript, one of the most important sources for French keyboard music of the 17th century, contains 122 harpsichord pieces by Couperin, as well as four organ pieces and 5 chamber works; the manuscript dates from ca. 1690. The so-called Oldham manuscript, recovered only in 1957, contains 70 organ works by Couperin, of which 68 are unique. Included are a harpsichord suite, four five-part chamber fantaisies, two pieces for shawm band; this manuscript may have been compiled at least during Couperin's lifetime, is the only such source for his music. In addition to these, the Parville manuscript contains 55 harpsichord pieces by Couperin, although only five of these are unique.
Couperin's harpsichord works are referred to by numbers used in the princeps Éditions de l'Oiseau-Lyre edition of 1936. The edition was based on the Bauyn manuscript, the only source known at that time; the authors of the manuscript did not arrange the pieces in suites, but rather grouped dances by key first and by genre second. So, for example, numbers 16–19 are courantes in C major, numbers 20–25 are sarabandes in C major, etc; some editions and recordings may use Davitt Moroney's alternative numbering scheme, which attempts to create suites out of Couperin's dances. The numbering scheme for Couperin's organ pieces reflects their source, the Oldham manuscript. Here, however, no attempt was made by the copyist to group pieces in any way; the manuscript draws
Jean-Henri d'Anglebert was a French composer and organist. He was one of the foremost keyboard composers of his day. D'Anglebert's father Claude Henry known as Anglebert was an affluent shoemaker in Bar-le-Duc. Nothing is known about the composer's early years and musical education. Since he at one time composed a tombeau for Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, it is possible that Chambonnières was his teacher—or at any rate a friend for whom D'Anglebert had much respect; the earliest surviving manuscript with D'Anglebert's music dates from 1650–1659. It contains music by Louis Couperin and Chambonnières, originated in their immediate circle; the earliest reference to D'Anglebert survives in his marriage contract from 11 October 1659. D'Anglebert married sister-in-law of the organist François Roberday. In the contract, he is described as bourgeois de Paris, suggesting that by 1659 he was well established in Paris. How he left Bar-le-Duc and settled in Paris remains unknown. D'Anglebert's career in Paris must have begun at the Jacobins church in Rue St. Honoré, where he was still organist in January 1660.
In August 1660 he succeeded Henri Dumont as harpsichordist to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, the King's younger brother. He kept the position until at least 1668, but in the meantime, in 1662, he bought the reversion of the post of harpsichordist from Chambonnières, disgraced at the court, he served as royal harpsichordist until his son Jean-Baptiste-Henry became his reversioner in 1674. After 1679 D'Anglebert served Dauphine Duchess Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria, who died in 1690. D'Anglebert died the following year, on 23 April, his only published work, Pièces de clavecin, appeared just two years before, in 1689. The rest of his music—mostly harpsichord works, but five fugues and a quatuor for organ—survives in manuscripts. D'Anglebert's principal work is a collection of four harpsichord suites published in 1689 in Paris under the title Pièces de clavecin; the volume is dedicated to Marie Anne de Bourbon, a talented amateur harpsichordist who studied under François Couperin. Apart from its contents, which represents some of the finest achievements of the French harpsichord school, Pièces de clavecin is important on several other counts.
The collection was beautifully engraved with utmost care, which set a new standard for music engraving. Furthermore, D'Anglebert's table of ornaments is the most sophisticated before Couperin's, it formed the basis of J. S. Bach's own table of ornaments, provided a model for other composers, including Rameau. D'Anglebert's original pieces are presented together with his arrangements of Lully's orchestral works. D'Anglebert's arrangements are, once again, some of the finest pieces in that genre, show him experimenting with texture to achieve an orchestral sonority. Most of D'Anglebert's other pieces survive in two manuscripts, one of which contains, apart from the usual dances, harpsichord arrangements of lute pieces by composers such as Ennemond Gaultier, Denis Gaultier, René Mesangeau, they are unique pieces, for no such arrangements by other major French harpsichord composers are known. The second manuscript contains more experimental pieces by D'Anglebert, in which he tried to invent a tablature-like notation for keyboard music to simplify the notation of style brisé textures.
D'Anglebert's only surviving organ works are a quatuor. The fugues all elaborate on variations of the same subject; the quatuor, one of the few surviving pieces of its kind, is built around three themes derived from the Kyrie Cunctipotens. Ledbetter, David. "Jean Henry D'Anglebert". In Deane L. Root. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Jean-Henri D'Anglebert bio, Classical Net. Free scores by Jean-Henri d'Anglebert at the International Music Score Library Project Kunst der Fuge: Jean-Henri d'Anglebert - MIDI files
The Couperin family was a musical dynasty of professional composers and performers. They were the most prolific family in French musical history, active during the Baroque era. Louis Couperin and his nephew, François Couperin le grand, are the best known members of the family; the earliest mention of the name Couperin is from 1366, but the first musician of the family was Mathurin Couperin. A Beauvoir trader involved in legal and financial matters, Mathurin was an amateur musician. No compositions by him survive, he stopped performing in 1619. Charles settled in Chaumes-en-Brie, a little town about 30 miles east of Paris, around 1601, he became a farmer and part-time organist at the Benedictine abbey of St. Pierre. At least three of Charles' many children became professional musicians: Louis, François, Charles; the family's breakthrough came around 1650, when Jacques Champion de Chambonnières harpsichordist to the King of France, was visiting Brie. Le Parnasse François, a famous 1732 book by Évrard Titon du Tillet, contains an account of Chambonnières's visit: Louis, François, Charles visited Chambonnières on the feast of Saint James—Chambonnières' name day—and offered the host and his guests a short concert, playing several pieces composed by Louis.
The royal harpsichordist was so impressed with their skills that he took Louis to Paris with him, by 1651 the young composer was living there. His brothers joined him soon afterwards. In 1653 Louis became the organist of Church Saint-Gervais: when he died, he was succeeded by Charles, Charles was succeeded by his son, so on. Louis was evidently a successful and influential composer, but he died young, in 1661, most of his compositions remained unpublished until the 20th century; some years after his death, the second of the two most important Couperins was born: François Couperin, nicknamed le Grand—"the Great". Although suffering from poor health throughout his life, François was a prolific composer, he produced four livres of harpsichord pieces that represent the summit of the French harpsichord school, authored an influential and important treatise on harpsichord playing, produced a number of other and secular works, that are still well known today. Organists of the Church Saint-Gervais are given in bold.
The number in parentheses indicates the order of succession, i.e. Louis was the first organist of the church, succeeded by Charles, succeeded by François, etc. Mathurin Couperin, died 1640. "Couperin", Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy, grovemusic.com