MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...


Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Couperin Apotheoses AVSA9944
Support us financially by purchasing from

François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Les Apothéoses
Le Parnasse ou l’Apothéose de Corelli: Grande Sonade, en Trio (1724) [13:20]
Concert Instrumental sous le titre d’Apothéose: Composé à la mémoire immortelle de l’incomparable Monsieur de Lully (1725) [33:37)
Monica Huggett (violin), Chiara Bachini (violin), Ton Koopman (harpsichord), Hopkinson Smith (theorbo), Bernard Hervé (reciter), Jordi Savall (bass viol and director)
rec. 19-22 March 1985, by Radio France, l’Église luthérienne Saint-Jean à Paris,
Hybrid SACD 5.1 surround/stereo - reviewed in surround stereo

An apothéose is a paean of praise, an exaltation of artistic skill in which the subject was received onto Parnassus by Apollo himself. It became fashionable in Paris around the 1720s. Very few examples of the form have survived; these two by François Couperin border on unique. The one for Corelli is in the form of a Trio Sonata; that for Lully is a more extended suite of movements. Both works have descriptions attached to every section, so important to the understanding of events that a spoken narrative precedes each of them. For example, the first movements come with the words “Corelli at the foot of Parnassus begs the Muses to receive him into their midst” and “Lully in the Elysian Fields, concertizing with the lyric Shades”. The liner notes make it clear that it is vital to understand the descriptions if one is to grasp what Couperin is illustrating. If you do not speak French, have the booklet in front of you as you listen.

Such pieces may be thought grand and solemn or even dull. Not so. They are full of political wit and gentle musical humour. François Couperin was well aware of the divided opinions of his audiences, be they royal, aristocratic or the bourgeoisie. Everyone took sides on whether French or Italian music was to be regarded as best. His listeners were informed enough to know that Corelli was a great influence on every musician but, unfortunately, Italian. Lully was, evidently, French – but not quite. Giovanni Battista Lulli, born in Florence, was only a naturalised Frenchman. His rise to be the top man in French music and very much in charge of royal music, was the subject of much controversy, and thus ripe for gentle humour. His apothéose is full of clever musical jokes about the contrasts of the French and Italian styles. It explicitly illustrates the differences between Corelli and Lully as composers. Naturally, Couperin wishes to entertain his listeners, and this he does to the full, with pastiche, dances and virtuoso compositional skill. Even so, the subtext – always important – adds spice to the proceedings.

The booklet is packed with background and essential reading. The performances are as good as one could possibly expect from the great Jordi Savall and his fellow musicians, luminaries all. These 1985 stereo recordings have been skilfully remastered for SACD surround by the finest man in the field, Manuel Mohino. I have commented before on the superb quality of his work. Here he has excelled even by his own standards, producing a quite gorgeous, detailed yet spacious sound that could have been recorded in surround yesterday rather than in stereo 36 years ago. Faced with a disc of this quality, one can forgive the rather short measure. In any case, where were they going to find another apothéose to fill it up?

Dave Billinge

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1