Francois Couperin

(1668-1733)


Country: France

Francois Couperin was the nephew of the famous French composer Louis Couperin. His father, Charles, was also a musician and organist at the Church of Saint-Gervais in Paris. He probably received his early musical training from his father who sadly died when Francois was just 11 years of age. The court organist and organist at the church of St Jacques-de-la-Boucherie, Jacques-Denis Thomelin, continued Francois's education.

In 1690, Couperin published his Pièces d'orgue; and within three more years had succeeded Thomelin at King Louis XIV's court. This appointment brought him into the highest social circles of French nobility, as well as the finest composers.

After obtaining a royal privilege to publish over a 20 year period, he immediately set about publishing the first volume of his harpsichord works, with three more volumes following later. In 1716 a manual for the instruction in harpsichord playing was issued, along with many other collections of keyboard and chamber music manuscripts.

Couperin was highly influenced by the Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli, and is credited with introducing Corelli's trio sonata form to the French. Couperin's four volumes of harpsichord music (1713, 1717, 1722, and 1730) collectively feature 230 individual works. Johann Sebastian Bach was an admirer of Couperin's talents and exchanged correspondence with the Frenchman. Later in history, another French composer and admirer of Couperin's music, Maurice Ravel, composed Le Tombeau de Couperin in his memory.

Free sheet music by Francois Couperin

Le Petit Rien