Artist Led, Creatively Driven

François Couperin’s Pièces de Clavecin
Book 2, 6th Ordre

Andrew Appel, harpsichord

Release Date: Jan 19th


Pièces de clavecin, Book 2, 6th Ordre

1) Les Moissonneurs

2) Les Langueurs-Tendres

3) Le Gazouillement

4) La Bersan

5) Les Baricades Mistérieuses

6) Les Bergeries

7) La Commére

8) Le Moucheron

Andrew Appel, harpsichord

The first piece of Couperin I played, and played over and over, was Les Barricades Mysterieuses. Its easy beauty made me popular among my high school friends and they asked me to play it repeatedly. Among the works included in the Anna Magdalena Notebook, Bach included the tender and delicious Les Bergeries. It is sublime, simple, touching, exquisite. In fact, the popularity and attraction of the sixth ordre is based in historical and contemporary assessment.
As an introduction to Couperin’s music, the sixth ordre is a welcome corridor into his unique style, a difficult aesthetic.

Couperin began his second book of harpsichord works, of suites or ordres with a break with tradition. No allemande grave to announce his music but a work of image and humor, a rollicking evocation of harvesters. From this moment on, with stops to enjoy the chirping of birds, the buzzing of flies, the peace of sheep, the babbling of gossips, and the welcome contrast of amorous sighs, we are in a bucolic place. Leaving the expected agenda of the 17th century suite, Couperin creates one that begs for a performance of every movement in its printed order because of its ideal series of contrasting images.

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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