Couperin, Les Barricades Mistérieuses (1717) – Guitar

François Couperin was the most famous member of a family that dominated French music throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Between 1713 and 1730 Couperin published 230 pieces for harpsichord that he had composed and organized into 27 ordres or "suites." Each ordre was a series of dances that Couperin identified with a descriptive name, such as The Little Windmills or The Knitters. Embedded below is one of my favorites from Couperin's ordres for harpsichord, The Mysterious Barricades, adapted beautifully by Michael Chapdelaine for steel guitar. (Chapdelaine is a National Fingerstyle Champion and Professor of Guitar at the University of New Mexico, giving me yet another reason to be proud of my home state.)

Michael Chapdelaine, steel string guitar


Couperin, Les Barricades Mistérieuses (1717) – Harpsichord

"The harpsichord is perfect as to it compass, and brilliant in itself, but as it is impossible to swell out or diminish the volume of its sound, I shall always feel grateful to any who, by the exercise of infinite art supported by fine taste, contrive to render this instrument capable of expression."

– François Couperin, Preface to Pièces de Clavecin , Book 1 (1713)

Three days ago I posted a piece by Couperin played on the guitar and here's the original version for harpsichord. The piece is almost 300 years old and still sounds fresh.

Katherine Shao, harpsichord (animated graphical score by Music Animation Machine)