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Wandering Shades: The Final Harpsichord Works of François Couperin / Katherine Roberts Perl, French double manual harpsichord after N. Dumont, Paris 1707

Notes & Reviews:

François Couperin (1668-1733) was the most famous and prolific Claveciniste of the French Baroque, and earned the title of "Le Grand" early in his career. His music has influenced many composers beyond the Baroque era including Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss and Thomas Ades. Brahms himself made considerable efforts to revive the reputation of François Couperin, performing his keyboard music in concerts. For this release, San Francisco based harpsichordist Katherine Roberts Perl has drawn upon Couperin's later works which were composed during a period of declining health. While much of Couperin's music pays tribute to Lully's grand style, his later works are composed in a darker, dreamier, more reflective tone. Unknowingly, he is creating a pathway which will lead to the future of French keyboard music - to Faure, Debussy and Ravel. Katherine Roberts Perl has a deep affinity for music of the French Baroque. Her first recording, Pieces de Clavecin, Music of Louis Couperin (Koch International Classics), was nominated for an award by Les Victoires de la Musique Classique in Paris, France, for Best Baroque Recording of French Music in 1993. Her second recording, Music of Jacques Duphly (Dorian), was released in 1998, followed by four of Bach's French Suites in the same year. In 2007-8, she recorded The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2.

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
Katherine Roberts Perl is a harpsichordist that I usually find myself in great sympathy with. Her readings of slower movements ('Les Ombres Errantes', 'La Convalescente', 'L'Exquise') are all fine, full of the nuance and control of timing that I've always admired in her performances. In certain passages of 'La Visionaire' and 'La Pantomime', some notes are played as if they are marked with wedges, and the music becomes too hard-bitten as a result. I feel the wedge is a special mark in Couperin and makes more of an impression when it appears more sparingly. In 'L'Amphibie', Perl handles very well the many mercurial changes of mood and tempo, all while maintaining the elusive "movement de Passacaille" Couperin calls for. All in all, the release is worth careful attention in spite of my cavils.


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