Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, Seit 1498. To home page

François Couperin

Messe pour les paroisses

"Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle", Jeremy Joseph


François Couperin, Messe des Couvents Paroisses

François Couperin "le grand" came from a family of musicians; his uncle and, after his uncle’s death, his father were organists at Saint-Gervais in Paris. When François Couperin's father died in 1679, he was only eleven years old, yet he managed to succeed him in this position when he was old enough in 1689. In 1693 he prevailed in an organist competition and thus became one of the four organists at the royal chapel in Versailles under Louis XIV.

Couperin made a name for himself not only as an organist and harpsichordist, but also as a teacher. He proved his mastery as a composer as early as 1690 with the mass titled "à l'usage ordinaire des Paroisses, Pour les Festes Solemnelles" ("for the use of the parish, for the high feast days"). He wrote it at the age of 21, a year after taking the position of organist at St. Gervais, where it was supposedly first performed. Together with a second mass, it was printed under the title "Pieces d'Orgue" as his first work.

The composition is part of the strong tradition of French organ masses. In it, the organ alternates with the singers in different sections of the liturgical chant. Both the organs and the music created for them were subject to a fairly uniform design in centralist France, dictating certain types of movements and combinations of sounds. Thus, in this organ mass, too, different stops appear between the strongly registered outer movements in typical combinations soloistically as a "Récit" or juxtaposed with other timbres in a "Dialogue" or "Trio". In this mass, the young Couperin clearly oriented himself at traditional church music, yet certain modern influences from secular music for keyboard instruments and from opera are also evident. Maria Helfgott

Translation: Patrick Malik using

Organist: Jeremy Joseph
Choir:  "Choralschola der Wiener Hofburgkapelle"

Celebrant: P. Hans Brandl SJ

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