Alfred Deller sings Couperin: “Deuxième leçon”

Here is the “Second Lesson” from Couperin’s magnificent “Leçons de ténèbres” with countertenor Alfred Deller. Desmond Dupré, viola da gamba, and Harry Gabb, organ. Recorded in 1960.

Deller made a later recording of this work on Harmonia Mundi (with tenor Philip Todd) in 1967. That recording is still in print.

Link to My Alfred Deller playlist:

From the liner notes to the 1967 recording:
“There are few works which, with such deliberately limited means, are so full of pathos. The melancholic genius of Couperin was fully in tune with a text of lamentations. The composer who, shortly before the end of his life, was to write a Pompe funèbre in his Suites for viols, found his natural expression in the Jeremiah text. His music, dramatic and pliable like that of Monteverdi, full of intimate and lyrical fervor, was an ideal vehicle to express the anguish of mortal man and the faith of the Christian soul in eternal life.”

– Vau – “Et egressus est”
– Zain – “Recordata est”
– Het – “Peccatum peccavit”
– Tet – “Sordes ejust”

Composed in 1714 for the Abbaye royale de Longchamp.