Georges Cziffra plays Couperin
Les Barricades Mystérieuses

A fascinating performance of a "mysterious" music written for harpsichord in 1717

As the background music of this web site you can listen to this beautiful piece of music written for harpsichord in 1717 by François Couperin, whose "mysterious" title is probably meant to be evocative rather than a reference to a specific object, musical or otherwise.

The work, written in rondeau form employing a variant of the traditional romanesca in the bass, is emblematic of the "style brisé" characteristic of French Baroque keyboard music.

The musical writing of this piece of music, with its steady rhythmic design from the beginning to the end, creates a shimmering aural kaleidoscope. 

The continuos harmonic delays of the four parts, highlighted by numerous value tyings, create unavoidable dissonances that are solved every time for a little while: in each bar all voices are consonant only on the fourth and eighth quaver, namely on the weakest beats of the bar.

Les Barricades Mystérieuses

The fascinating piano performance of Georges Cziffra (Budapest, 5 November 1921 – Longpont-sur-Orge, 17 january 1994) has nothing of the historically informed executions: his sound palette is rich, dynamics and agogics are most suitable to a "romantic" music, basses are pointed out, speed is rather slow ("Vivement"), embellishments are in the upbeats....

But the aesthetic result is unrivalled!

Georges Cziffra plays Couperin Les Barricades Mystérieuses

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