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This reissue of a 1975 recording on the Astrée label is handsomely packaged with excellent documentation. Jordi Savall’s interpretations of the two suites, which comprise Couperin’s Pièces de Viole, are free, spontaneous and sensible to the elusive nuances of what Couperin called ‘le bon goût’. Using a seven-string instrument, he plays the two elegiac preludes in supple, improvisatory vein, controls the pacing of the hypnotic ‘Passacaille ou Chaconne’ of Suite no. 1 with structural insight, realises the sombre ‘Pompe funèbre’ of no. 2 with conviction and adds an endearing vivacity and elegance to ‘La Chemise blanche’. Some of the first suite’s dances lose their vital characteristics – notably the gavotte and the somewhat laboured gigue – such is the ease and freedom with which Savall dispatches them, but his account of the ‘Sarabande grave’ has all the requisite poetry and melancholy. Ton Koopman and Ariane Maurette provide discreet continuo accompaniments.

Robin Stowell Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing