Capture d’écran 2023-03-15 à 12.23.05

Leçons de Ténèbres • Musique de François Couperin

Legend has it that Lully was Louis XIV’s favorite musician: during the first part of his reign, the Florentine’s talent, but especially his skill, effectively gave him the lion’s share of the work… Other composers, more discreet, knew however by their singular personalities to captivate a monarch fundamentally in love with music. Lalande took over from Lully in the most prominent positions at court, mainly for sacred music, while Couperin was probably one of the musicians closest to the king: a magnificent harpsichordist, he played in the Palace, a few meters away from the sovereign, at the hours requested. These two composers, who were not very worldly, had, in addition to music, a common point which brought them closer to the King of France: they had all three been confronted with the loss of a child, and Louis XIV regularly had words of kindness and compassion for them. Both Lalande and Couperin shunned the operatic genre in favor of the intimacy of chamber music and the depth of sacred works. The Trois leçons de Couperin are the most emblematic cycle, paying splendid homage to Corelli and Italian writing, as well as to the art of French chant, of which it constitutes an absolute summit, as virtuoso as it is expressive.