All eight players are totally absorbed in the style. Their often dense ornamentation never sounds calculated or contrived; their rhythmic flow in slower movements has a captivating insouciance, relaxed, gently fluid. This is French playing that would be hard to better.
Although Couperin is best known today as a composer of harpsichord music, he remained deeply involved in chamber music throughout his career. Les Nations is a vast project in which the virtues of both the French and Italian styles are set next to each other. Each of the four ordres celebrates a Catholic power of Europe, France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Savoy dynasty of Piedmont, and each is a combination of an Italianate trio sonata with its freeform virtuosity and a large-scale and elaborate French dance suite. Juilliard Baroque brings together some of the world’s most respected and accomplished early music instrumentalists.
Couperin, F: L’Impériale
Couperin, F: Les Nations
Couperin, F: Les Nations: Premier Ordre 'La Françoise'
Couperin, F: Les Nations: Second Ordre 'L'Espagnole'