Jordi Savall – Les Concerts Royaux (François Couperin) (2004)

FrontCover1Imagine your charge: you are court composer to the most powerful man who has ever lived. The old king is dying, slowly, his faculties are gradually receding. He has his lucid moments, remembering this or that great triumph. He has his dreamy moments, his visions of beauty and pleasure. His majesty wishes to be entertained, surrounded by those he most highly esteems. The year is 1714, the place the Palais de Versailles: the King is Louis XIV.

You are Francois Couperin. Your music must not jar the king from his reveries, it must carry him, like a leaf, down a graceful French stream on a bright spring day. The birds must twitter, the breezes blow, and the sun! The sun must bounce off the waves as dazzling and blinding jewels of light. Your music must capture the king’s melancholy, for he knows his life is ending, and he wants only the bittersweet relish of his life’s sweet moments.

You have dazzled him for fifteen years with your own harpsichord music. You know others have greatly pleased him with their music as well: the great Lully, the sublime Marais, that cantakerous Ste Colombe.

So you create a series of entertainments. They must be short, for it is better to have the king ask for another than to have him fall asleep in the middle of a set. And they must be perfect, for you are in the service of the king.

These are four of those entertainments. They serve up all the styles of the old king’s long life, they admit only of beauty and majesty.

This is not the music of our times, and it is not likely to be appreciated or enjoyed within the context of our times. If you permit, Sr Savall and his small band of players will take you back three hundred years, and give you those moments the old king had. (by D. Earls)

François CouperinFrançois Couperin

Les Concerts Royaux is magnificent. It is easy to imagine the old king Louis XIV sitting in his salon on a Sunday afternoon listening to these concerts and dreaming of youth and bucolic nature. These are varied and interesting works, filled with colorful and evocative melodies. I love french music and this disc does not dissapoint. another work by Couperin you may wish to try are ‘Les Lecons de Tenebrae’. The royal concerts are a must have for fans of french music. All the fine hallmarks of the noble baroque style of the music of the Sun King and his court are present here. (by Baroque Loverboy)


Le Concert Des Nations directed by Jordi Savall:

Alfredo Bernardini (oboe)
Josep Borràs (bassoon)
Bruno Cocset (bass)
Xavier Díaz-Latorre (guitar, theorbo )
Marc Hantaï (flute)
Guido Morini (harpsichord)
Manfredo Kraemer (violin)
Jordi Savall (viol – basse de viol)


Premier Concert:
01. Prélude (Gravement) 2.40
02. Allemande (Légèrement) 1.55
03. Sarabande (Mesuré) 3.21
04. Gavotte (Notes Égales Et Coulées) 1.33
05.Gigue (Légèrement) 1.44
06. Menuet En Trio 2.11

Seconde Concert:
07. Prélude (Gracieusement) 2.22
08. Allemande Fuguée (Gayement) 1.54
09. Air Tendre 4.36
10. Air Contre Fugué (Vivement) 2.22
11. Echos (Tendrement)     3:46

Troisième Concert:
12. Prélude (Lentement) 2.11
13. Allemande (Légèrement) 2.07
14. Courante 2.10
15. Sarabande (Grave) 3.48
16. Gavotte 1.38
17. Muzette (Naïvement) 3.01
18. Chaconne Légère 3.00

Quatrième Concert:
19. Prélude (Gravement) 2.53
20. Allemande (Légèrement) 1.34
21. Courante Françoise 1.58
22. Courante À L’Italiene 2.19
23. Sarabande (Très Tendrement) 2.54
24. Rigaudon (Légèrement Et Marqué) 2.07
25. Forlane, Rondeau (Gayement) 2.47

composed by François Couperin