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Lyrical Baroque Ensemble

Leçons de Ténèbres

F. Couperin

Rediscover "Les Leçons de Ténèbres", François Couperin’s sacred and profoundly influential work.

Created for Holy Week in the 18th century, the "Leçons de Ténèbres" are intended to prepare the faithful for Easter. From the texts of the Lamentations by Jeremiah of the Old Testament, they are true exhortations to repentance and meditation. In the Christian liturgy, they symbolize the loneliness of Christ at the time of his suffering.

A pinnacle of vocal art from the baroque era

François Couperin created his "Leçons de Ténèbres" in 1714 at the Abbey of Longchamp, which became a sacred, famous work that was quickly defined as the quintessence of baroque music for soprano voices. Among Couperin's three lessons, two call for a single voice; the third, written for two voices, is recognized by musicologists as one of the peaks of the vocal art of the baroque period.

The complete program includes the temporary composer André Campra’s "Quam Dilecta" as well as "La Pompe Funèbre", both through the lens of François Couperin, as pieces for harpsichord as well as a symphony for viola by Louis Couperin, his uncle. “Les Leçons de Ténèbres” are thus placed in the context of their time, surrounded by the works of the close contemporaries of their author.


Musical direction harpsichord & organ
Sebastien d'Herin
Soprano • Caroline Mutel
Mezzo soprano • Karine Deshayes, Chantal Santon, Hasnaa Bennani (depending on date)
Cello • Hagar Hanana
Viola da Gamba • Martin Bauer
Optional violin • Jasmine Eudeline

With the support of the Paris Institut français and the City of Lyon