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François Couperin
François Couperin (Paris 1668-Paris 1733) was also known as 'Couperin le Grand', to distinguish him from the other talented members of the Couperin family, due to his immense virtuosity on the organ and the harpsichord. He was an esteemed French composer in the Baroque style.

For many years Couperin was organist at the church of Saint Gervais, Paris. In 1717, Couperin became the court organist and composer, and gave weekly 'concerts' for King Louis XIV. Many of these "concerts", as the titles read, were in the form of suites for Violin, Viol, Oboe, Bassoon, and Harpsichord of which he was a virtuoso player.

Couperin acknowledged his debt to Corelli, whose trio sonata form Couperin introduced to French music. The title of Couperin's grand trio sonata, by which it is best known, is 'The Apotheosis of Corelli' ('l'Apothéose de Corelli').

His most famous book, L'Art de toucher le clavecin (published 1716), contained executions for fingerings, touch, ornamentation and other features of keyboard technique. It is said to have had great influence on Bach.

Many of Couperin's keyboard pieces have evocative picturesque titles and express a mood through key choices, adventurous harmonies and (resolved) discords. These features attracted Richard Strauss, who orchestrated some of them.

Contributed by Wikipedia
5 January 2004

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