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Classical Composers A-Z: Francis Couperin

Peter Wintersgill introduces us to “Le Grand’’ Couperin, the keyboard composer and organist.

Born
10th November, 1668, in Paris

Father
Charles, composer and organist.

Family
Uncle Louis, the best-known member of a musical family. Francis’s son Nicholas and daughter Marguerite were both musicians.

Adolescence
He followed his father as organist of St. Gervais at 18.

Adult Life
Known as ‘le Grand’, Couperin was first and foremost a keyboard composer and organist. His collection of 26 suites of between three and twelve pieces each was published in four books.

He became one of the four Royal Organists at 25 in 1693 and was soon recognised as the major composer of his day. He wrote a series of concerts royaux consisting of chamber music (1722) for the court and wrote a book in 1716, L’art de touché le Clavecin. He became tutor of the royal children. He tried to bring together the French and Italian styles of music in Les Gouts Reunis.

He died 11th September, 1733, in Paris aged 64.


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