Couperin Keyboard Music II

2004-03-14 / The Sunday Times / Stephen Pettitt

FRANÇOIS COUPERIN Keyboard Music — Vol 2

This Second instalment of Hewitt’s projected three-disc sampling of Couperin’s keyboard music contains four complete Ordres, or suites (Nos 21 and 25 to 27), and a pair of works — Les Dars-homicides and the remarkable L’Amphibie, which sounds like a ground-bass passacaglia, but isn’t — from the 24th Ordre. The range of this deeply personal music, composed late in Couperin’s career, is amazing. Many pieces show the influence of Bach, not least in their adventurous choice of key and in their expressive chromatic inflections. Hewitt plays everything with her usual lucidity, creating a subtle mix of elegance and passion in poised performances that prove the appropriateness of a modern piano in this repertoire.