François Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecin
Book 1, 4th Ordre
Premier Livre Quatriême Ordre
1. La Marche des Gris-Vêtus
2. Les Baccanales
3. La Pateline
4. Le Réveil-matin
Andrew Appel, harpsichord
In not including an expected suite of dances as normal among 17th century harpsichordists, without a grand Allemande, two courantes, a sarabande, a gavotte and a concluding gigue, Couperin is introducing us to a world that replaces grandeur and tradition with wit, charm, and allusion. He is bringing us into the future. And while we may long for a voluptuous F major allemande we have just compensation in some of the most tender music of the first book (Tendresses Bachiques) and the silliest gigue (Le Réveil-matin). And in La Pateline with its rolling left hand barcarolle accompaniment, Couperin creates an opportunity for flexibility daring the player to make the harpsichord sing as never before.
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.