Brice Montagnoux Plays Couperin: Offertoire sur les Grands Jeux

The French organist and Baroque specialist, Brice Montagnoux, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on April 27. He was 44. The cause of death has not been disclosed. In addition to performing internationally, Montagnoux served as professor of organ at the Conservatoire TPM in Toulon. In 2012, he became director of Institut d’Enseignement Supérieur de la Musique in Aix-en-Provence. Montagnoux is survived by his wife, Eva Villegas, a clarinetist. The two performed together frequently as a …

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Couperin’s “Les Barricades Mystérieuses”: A Sonic Kaleidoscope

The title of François Couperin’s Les Barricades Mystérieuses (“The Mysterious Barricades”) remains an enigma. One commentator has speculated that it may be a reference to continuous suspensions, or notes which hold over to create “a barricade to the basic harmony.” Others have suggested veiled references to freemasonry, masks worn by performers of Le Mystère ou les Fêtes de l’Inconnu (an event staged in 1714 by one of Couperin’s patrons), women’s eyelashes, or the wine barrels …

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Debussy’s Études Turn 100

Apart from the question of technique, these Études will be a useful warning to pianists not to take up the musical profession unless they have remarkable hands…. This was Claude Debussy’s warning to students who dared attempt to play his twelve fiendishly difficult Études for solo piano. The short pieces were even technically daunting for Debussy, who described them as “music that soars to the summit of execution,” and requires you to occasionally catch …

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