stay-at-home baricades

Recording oneself at home is now an accepted thing that musicians (including harpsichordists!) do, who are stranded at home with their concerts canceled. Below is a link to my after-dinner version of François Couperin’s rather mysterious baricades. The meaning of the title of the piece from his second book of Pieces de Clavecin remains unknown, according to the Wikipedia article, although there are a number of possibilities of varying degrees of juiciness.

The challenge of this not-frightfully-difficult piece is to find a balance between the indication Vivement and not playing so fast that the harpsichord begins to sound like a mechanical 18th-century toy.

I remember hearing this piece for the first time when I was seven years old, on occasion of a trip to Lausanne in October 1966. My father was supposed to restore the 1642 Hans Ruckers harpsichord that Christiane Jaccottet just had acquired: restore it in situ and within two weeks! Now, Marc Jaccottet was five and still did after-lunch naps, and for the sake of fairness, I too got sent to the guest room to “rest” for the time. Eventually the harpsichord was starting to play again, just behind the double door. So I spent my “nap”time staring at some flies and the stucco ceiling decorations while listening to whatever Christiane played to try out her new old harpsichord. The Baricades and a small piece by John Blow are all I recall from these contemplative hours.

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