Couperin, François


Was a member of the family of Couperin, a brilliant race of musicians, distinguished as organists and composers. Was surnamed " Le grande " to distinguish him from other members of the family. He made a great name for himself. He was born in Paris, where his father, Charles Couperin, was organist at the Church of St. Gervais. Upon the death of the latter, in 1669, his father's friend and successor became the boy's tutor, and François eventually became organist at St. Gervais. Three years later he was a dulcimer-player and organist, at the Chapel Royal, to Louis XIV. As a composer and as author he opened a new era for piano-playing, and is one of the principal figures in the history of piano and clavecinwriting. Bach is said to have taken him as a model. His compositions are elegant and spirited in style and of decided originality. He published four books for the clavecin, upon which his reputation chiefly rests; an early set of pieces for the harpsichord, upon which he was a wonderful executant; and he reset the dances, played by the orchestra in Lully's operas, on the clavecin. A careful reprint of his suites for the harpsichord was edited by Brahms.