Francois Couperin
(orig. B Minor, transp. to D Minor)
from Pieces de Clavecin, Huitieme Ordre

Transcribed for Organ Solo by
Ennis Fruhauf


      Francois Couperin was born, lived and died in Paris (1668-1733).  He was active as a composer, harpsichordist, and organist and wrote extensively for keyboard instruments.  Along with his uncle, Louis, he served in succession as organist at the church of St. Gervais. Named one of four organistes du roi  in 1693, he was later appointed maitre de clavecin du roi  in 1717.

Passacaille for clavecin, from the Huitie
me Ordre, is transposed from its original key of B minor to D minor in order to facilitate performance on the organ.  Structurally and compositionally, the passacaille as presented here is actually a rondo, fashioned in the manner of his uncle's acclaimed chaconnes.  There are nine recurrences of the refrain – or in this case rondeau, a repeated four-measure unit – with each one separated by the interpolation of eight contrasting verses, or couplets. While Couperin's passacaille demonstrates all of the stylized trademarks of his uncle’s chaconnes, it is more comprehensive and enterprising in length, and displays bold variational contrasts that are presented in an elaborately mannerized latter French Baroque keyboard idiom.

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