After the Second Book of Harpsichord Pieces (1717), François Couperin composed no new music until 1722. Was it due to his increasingly frail health? After the Third Book of Harpsichord Pieces and the Concerts Royaux, written seven or eight years earlier, from 1714 to 1725, came Les Goûts Réunis and Les Apothéoses and finally, in 1726, Les Nations, which consisted partly of sonatas composed more than thirty years earlier and partly of recently composed suites. It was a fruitful period which culminated in 1728 with the Pièces de Viole, a sublime homage to the viola da gamba and probably also to the great Marin Marais. Up to the time of his death in 1733 his reputation never ceased to grow, especially abroad, where he was increasingly acclaimed: Bach recommended him to his pupils. And yet, just as there had been setbacks to his official career, the height of his fame – at a time when he had renounced all honours, was marred by some obscure malicious detractors. As Pierre Citron speculates, “Could it be that in the Apothéose de Lulli, the Rumeur souterraine causée par les contemporains de Lulli were in fact the criticism that Couperin’s own contemporaries levelled against him?” The preface to Les Nations suggests that this was the case: “there are always detractors, more to be feared than genuine critics, who often, contrary to their intention, give salutary advice. The former are contemptible, and I settle their account in advance, with interest.” It must have been a great sadness for Couperin to see the triumph of those who had attacked him in this way when he was at the peak of his art but at the end of his life.