L'Apotheose de Corelli by Francois Couperin (1668-1733)
Edited by Edward Higginbottom for two Flutes (Oboes, Violins) and Basso continuo
Includes score and parts
“The two trio sonatas L'Apotheose de Corelli and L'Apotheose de Lulli were published in 1724 and 1725 respectively, the first as an addendum to the ten 'Nouveaux Concerts' in Les Gouts-reunis, the second independently under the title Concert Instrumental. There is no reason to suppose they were composed significantly earlier than the mid-1720s, particularly since the preface to Les Gouts-reunis mentions the Lully Sonata as a project yet to be undertaken. No eighteenth-century MS of either of these two works is extant.
There is no mistaking Couperin's intention in choosing to celebrate the reception of both Corelli and Lully on Parnassus: he was paying homage to the twin sources of his art. In a period of acute partisanship, he rose above the national prejudices which made a love of the works of Lully preclude a love of those of Corelli; and he actively sought to unite the distinctive qualities of each style in his own music, a task to which Les Gouts-reunis and the two Apotheose sontatas bear eloquent testimony. Nevertheless, whilst invigorating the sophisticated charm of the French style with the hardiness of the Italian, and softening the excesses and exterior brilliance of the Italian style with the sweetness of the French, he clearly recognised the particular strengths and characteristics of each. The juxtaposition of French and Italian styles in L'Apotheose de Lulli is most telling in this respect.
Indeed this sonata is rich in allusions to national styles. The veiled reference to the famous “trembleurs” scene in Act IV of Lully's Isis (in the movement headed Rumeur souteraine causee par les Auteurs contemporains de Lulli) has been widely commented upon. Unfortunately, other allusions to national traits are to some extent effaced by a modern edition. For instance, whenever Corelli is represented in the original editions, the treble clefs are changed from first to second-line G; and when the page needs turning, 'volti subito' appears instead of 'tournez vite'. Elsewhere, the modern performer may more easily enjoy Couperin's witticisms, as in the pointed use of 'notes egales et marquees' in Accueil entre doux at agard fait a Lulli par Corelli, and the adoption of the Italian sign for a trill whenever Corelli plays.
Viewed in terms of Couperin's output as a whole, these two sonatas stand as the culmination of his work in the trio sonata medium. What had started as a pioneering, but at times tentative and gauche imitation of the Italian style in the sonatas of the early 1960s, has now become a fully assured and mature essay in the medium.”-Preface