François Couperin (1668-1733) was certainly the greatest of the French claveinists and surely one of the greatest of French composers. Musically, Francois Couperin bridged two eras, the Baroque and the Classical, to which many of his ideas look forward. He was born in Paris into a family with a musical tradition stretching back 200 years. Their church, St Gervais, employed a member of the Couperin family as organist for an unbroken period of 173 years.
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).
These Ordres are like suites of a succession of dance movements. Each Ordre has a title that might be the name of a person or object, or might be intended to evoke a particular scene or mood. Examples are Les ombres errantes (The roving shadows), La visionaire (The dreamer), and Papillons (Butterflies). The works demonstrate a great variety of techniques, and display clearly Couperin's success at fusing elements of French and Italian music.
Although originally written for Harpsichord, I created this arrangement for Flute Duet to highlight the interplay between the two fluttering insects. this piece is best played using the "GeneralUser GS.sf2" Soundfont by S. Christian Collins Software (http://www.schristiancollins.com/generaluser.php).