François Couperin (1668-1733) was certainly the
greatest of the French claveinists and surely one of
the greatest of French composers. In his four books of
Pièces de clavecin, Couperin took the harpsichord music
of Chambonnières, Marchand, and especially his uncle
Louis Couperin to the pinnacle of the French musical
art with clear forms, graceful melodies, elegant
harmonies, and a tone that eschews virtuosity in favor
of expressivity. The six ordres or suites from
Couperin's second book are no longer the series of
stylized dance movements in diverse keys familiar from
his first book, but rather collections of works more
often than not bearing some sort of descriptive title,
all of which are in the same key (with the major and
minor modes being considered in some sense equivalent).
"Le Moucheron" (the Gnat) is number 8 of his
harpsichord collection, Deuxieme Livre, Ordre Six,
published in 1717 by François Couperin and captures the
essence of the flying, annoying gnat.
Although originally written for Harpsichord, I created
this arrangement for Flute and Oboe, allowing the
musicians to "duel" as gnats in a dynamic
point-counterpoint epic battle!