"I wanted to focus this programme on the idea of play. Centring on Le Tic-Toc-Choc, which I often use as an encore, I gathered together Couperin's most 'pianistic' pieces, underlining the playful aspect… I have a particularly soft spot for Duphly's La Pothoïn, which for me is one of the loveliest pieces ever composed for keyboard. I think this music, written later than Couperin's, provides an ideal link between the harpsichord and the arrival of the fortepiano, which Duphly couldn't bring himself to adopt. All through these sessions, shut up in the immense hall at IRCAM, I thought of a number of artists who have long been part of my life and a source of inspiration for me, that whole family of pianists who handed this repertoire down to us: Louis Diémer, Marcelle Meyer, Robert Casadesus, Emil Gilels,Yvonne Lefébure, Pierre Barbizet . .They were omnipresent in my mind.This recording is my tribute to them." Alexandre Tharaud
“…while Tharaud's ornamentation is impeccable and the piano well recorded, the collection as a whole is disappointingly monochrome.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2007
“If you doubt that a concert grand can be as sparkling as a harpsichord listen to Akexandre Tharaud and his selection of 20 Couperin jewels. Try his way with Le Carillon de Clithére and you will never want to hear a
harpsichord again. Sleek presentation, clever sleeve notes and high-end sound make this the most beautifully packaged of all the collected releases here.” Pianist Magazine, June-July 2007
“Reactions to a disc like this can only be personal, but mine are that, compared to the more "correct" but less colourful Angela Hewitt… Tharaud's unapologetically pianistic approach not only yields highly attractive results but also gets closer to the Couperin's true spirit. Poetic wonders such as La muse plantine, Les ombres errantes and the iconic Les baricades mistérieuses are played with tender sensitivity of mind and touch, while Le carillon de Cithére is a glistening vision of a Watteauesque paradise. Tharaud closes with a piece by Duphly, relishing its dark melancholy and, not for the first time on this disc, evoking another great keyboard poet, Robert Schumann.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2007
“Alexandre Tharaud's disc of Rameau keyboard works was a refreshing demonstration that French harpsichord music can be convincingly transferred to the piano, twiddles and all, if its essential character is respected and understood.
Now he attempts the seemingly tougher task of doing the same for the more delicate Couperin, and again emerges with honour. Reactions to a disc like this can only be personal, but Tharaud's unapologetically pianistic approach not only yields highly attractive results but also gets closer to Couperin's true spirit.
Mind you, he only chooses works that he considers suitable to the piano, selecting from right across Couperin's output rather than playing whole suites. Arguably, he gets it wrong only twice, in La visionnaire and the great B minor Passacaille, fulsome formal pieces both, whose grandeur the piano somehow manages to dull.
Yet for the most part the music sounds beautifully at home. Poetic wonders such as La museplantine, Les ombres errantes and the iconic Lesbaricades mistérieuses are played with tender sensitivity of mind and touch, while Le carillon deCithére is a glistening vision of a Watteauesque paradise. Elsewhere, Le tic-toc-choc and Les toursde passe-passe are enlivened by off-beat accents, Bruit de guerre thrills with its added drum part, and Muséte de taverni, multi-tracked into a work à 5 mains, rattles away like some delicious missing movement from L'arlésienne. Tharaud closes with a piece by Duphly, relishing its dark melancholy and, not for the first time on this disc, evoking another great keyboard poet, Robert Schumann. This is a release which successfully recognises and celebrates Couperin's genius, and you cannot ask for much more than that.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010