Artist Led, Creatively Driven

François Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecin
Book 1, 3rd Ordre

Andrew Appel

Release Date: 2nd June 2023


Pièces de clavecin, Book 1, 3rd Ordre 

1. Allemande La Ténébreuse
2. Premiere Courante
3. Seconde Courante
4. Sarabande La Lugubre
5. Gavotte
6. Menuet
7. Les Pélerines: La Marche
8. Les Pélerines: La Caristade
9. Les Pélerines: Le Remerciement
10. Les Laurentines
11. L’Espagnolète
12. Les Regrets
13. Les Matelotes Provençales
14. La Favorite: Chaconne à deux tems
15. La Lutine

Andrew Appel, harpsichord

From the first moments of the third ordre Couperin launches us into a dark, profound and disturbing world. For all its anguish terror, La Ténébreuse is as beautiful as it is dramatic. The harpsichord never sounds more sonorous and voluptuous as in this grand work. C minor seems to be the key of French Classical tragedy and so many of the pieces in this collection are Racinian. La Favorite measures well against the opening grand allemande. Yet there is humor and even comedy injected into this collection. L’Espagnolète is a play on words connected a certain window latch with an ornament whose movement is similar to the latch and an obvious Spanish accent to the music. There are sailors stomping and pilgrims joyfully marching. Finally, there is Couperin le Grand in all his brilliance and variety.

Andrew Appel, Artistic Director of the Four Nations Ensemble, performs throughout Europe and the United States as soloist in many festivals including Italy’s Spoleto Festival, New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Redwoods Festival. In 2023 Appel was invited to join the performers at Music from Marlboro. As recitalist, Mr. Appel has performed at Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls in New York, as well as halls from the Music Academy of the West to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Along with his focus on The Four Nations Ensemble, he has been a guest artist of Chatham Baroque, the Smithsonian Players, and Orpheus. He serves as harpsichordist for opera companies and has toured with several European chamber orchestras. He has enjoyed critical acclaim for his solo recording of Bach works with Bridge Records as well as his fortepiano performances of Haydn for ASV. He and the Four Nations Ensemble presently record for Orchid Classical in London.

As a writer, Mr. Appel has written program notes and articles for presenters around the country including Lincoln Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and National Public Radio. Mr. Appel has participated in discussions on education and chamber music programming at conferences of Chamber Music America, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the New York State Council on the Arts. He has served as President of the Board of Trustees of Chamber Music America. He has been regularly praised for pre-concert talks that contextualize the music and open areas of discovery for the audience.

A native of New York City, Appel discovered the harpsichord at 14 and began lessons with Tim Read and Igor Kipnis. First-prize winner of the Erwin Bodky Competition in Boston, he holds an international soloist degree from the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp where he worked with Kenneth Gilbert and a Doctorate from the Juilliard School under Albert Fuller. There he has taught harpsichord and music history. Appel has also taught harpsichord, chamber music, music history and humanities courses at Moravian College, Princeton University, and New York Polytech, now a division of New York University.

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