a) La Visionaire
Francois Couperin (1668-1733)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 5 Tracks 20-21
The best audience for a composer is the performer. Even though the beautiful dreamer Mr. Couperin had in mind was an amateur, this short piece is still worthy of the most skilled fingers. It can serve the pro like a good short story. I am impressed by this accomplishment because it seems there are many composers who succeed in writing for the listener or for the performer but not both. Couperin's talent had the luck of being around for a rather small, musically educated audience. When composers would later try to write for masses of people without any musical ability, I think the quality of music suffers.
A curiosity of pieces like this one are the repeats. To repeat or not to repeat? I can understand that, for an anthology, one might skip the repeats to conserve space. However, this piece is designed for attentive listening. Someone paying close attention will make good use of the second presentation. Besides that, the 'B' section is so different from the start that there is no need to hurry to that transition.
What I like about this binary dream is the way the 'B' section works its way back to material similar to the opening. We never fully return to that Lully-like sound, but we have benefited from visiting.