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François Couperin 1668-1733

Also known as "le Grand" to distinguish him from his larger family of musicians, François Couperin became organist of Saint-Gervais in the year of Bach's birth and advanced to the royal chapel of Louis XIV in 1693, eight years later. In 1701 Couperin was promoted to chamber musician and music master to the royal family. While Couperin did compose motets and other sacred music for voices, he bequeathed a superior repertory for the harpsichord; his Pièces de clavecin (1713-30) and L'art de toucher le clavecin (1717) are monuments of harpsichord literature and technique. In 1802 Bach's first biographer, Forkel, wrote: "Bach knew Couperin's works and valued them . . . because one can learn from them a neat and graceful keyboard technique."

Bach's World Contemporaries Chronology