The Baroque Era

17th to mid-18th century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Francois Couperin



Musically, Francois Couperin bridged two eras, the Baroque and the Classical, to which many of his ideas look forward. He was born in Paris into a family with a musical tradition stretching back 200 years. Their church, St Gervais, employed a member of the Couperin family as organist for an unbroken period of 173 years.

The ten-year-old Couperin's musical abilities were already evident when, upon his father's death, the position of organist to St Gervais was formally offered to him. postponed until his eighteenth birthday. In the meantime a temporary appointment was made, although accounts suggest that in fact Couperin frequently played at services and was given a wage before he was 18. He married Marie-Anne Ansault when he was 21, and the following year secured a royal licence to publish his only two organ Masses.

Couperin was an admirer of Corelli and around 1692 composed a set of tour sonatas; this marked the beginning of his life-long affection for the Italian Baroque. At this time it was principally as a keyboard player that Couperin's reputation grew. He became one of tour organists to Louis XIV in 1693 and gamed an increasing reputation as a harpsichord teacher, his pupils including the King's children, the Duke of Burgundy, the Count of Toulouse, the daughters of the Duke of Bourbon, the Dowager Princess of Conti, and numerous others. Performing also made great demands on his time, and there are accounts of him playing at Versailles, Sceaux, and Fontainebleau.

In 1696 he was presented with his own coat of arms, and six years later had the distinction of receiving the Order of Chevalier de Latran. He became the King's harpsichordist, and when in 1715 the King died, the composer's position remained secure as the new court surrounding Louis XV brought a fresh influx of distinguished pupils. Around this time Couperm composed one of his most impressive pieces of religious music, Lecons de tenebres, a setting of sacred texts for solo voices with sparse accompaniment, to be performed during Holy Week.

Couperm's most important achievements, however, are the four books of harpsichord works that he wrote between 1713 and 1730. The individual pieces arc known as Ordres, consisting, like suites, of a succession of dance movements. Each Ordre has a title that might be the name of a person or object, or might be intended to evoke a particular scene or mood. Examples are Les ombres errantes (The roving shadows), La visionaire (The dreamer), and Papillons (Butterflies). The works demonstrate a great variety of techniques, and display clearly Couperin's success at fusing elements of French and Italian music.


Francois Couperin



Francois Couperin (1668-1733)



"Complete harpsichord music"
  La Visionaire (better quality - big file)
  Les Rozeaux
  Les Barricades misterieuses
  La Florentine
  La Distraite
  L´Etincelante ou la Bontems (better quality - big file)
  Le Dodo, ou l´amour au Berceau
"Complete chamber music"
La Piémontoise (Sonate)

  Les Nations, premier ordre ("La Francoise") Allemande (e-moll)























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