Gustav Leonhardt was one of the most important harpsichord and organ players in the world and a very well-known specialist in baroque music. Gustav Leonhardt -The Edition is a 15-CD retrospective containing a representative selection of his numerous recordings, including famous solo recordings such as the legendary Goldberg Variations and Bach's organ and harpsichord works. 6 CDs feature collaborations with his famous colleagues Sigiswald Kuijken, Frans Bruggen and Anner Bylsma, the Leonhardt-Consort and Harry van der Kamp.
In January 2012, the nestor of early music in the Netherlands died: Gustav Leonhardt. Together with Harnoncourt he belonged to the pioneers of authentic performance practice. Leonhardt was a gentleman at the keyboard. His aristocratic mastery of the French harpsichordists alone, with all those complex decorations and declamations, was unrivaled. And yet he regarded Bach as the greatest composer ever. 'His music is incredibly versatile, interesting, intelligent. (…) What is the secret? If only we would know that! ', According to Gustav Leonhardt in an interview with the Reformatorisch Dagblad. This reissue, undoubtedly inspired by the publicity surrounding Leonhard's death, includes performances by Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, Die Kunst Der Fuge and the Goldberg Variationen. The settled execution of the Goldberg variations - in everything the opposite of Glenn Gould's electrifying approach - still sounds magical. Leonhardt's registration of Die Kunst Der Fuge had become the best ever, if he had taken the trouble to include the (unfinished) Fuga a 3 soggetti.
Gustav Maria Leonhardt was one of the best-known leaders of the Early Music movement. A harpsichordist and organist and later a conductor, he was credited with being one of the most important figures in establishing the Netherlands as one of the main centers of period music performances. He had a classical education, then entered the Schola Cantorum in Basle. There he studied organ and harpsichord with Eduard Müller.
François de Bedos de Celles (1709-1779), described as a "monk of notable erudition," was also a highly trained and supremely talented builder of organs in eighteenth century France. The greatest of his organs was Dom Bedos, built for the abbey of Saint-Croix in Bordeaux – a glorious instrument with rich blends and subtle colors, with nuanced balances and stark contrasts, with whispering pianissimos and roaring fortissimos. Leonhardt's chosen program opens with the organ extracts from François Couperin's Messe propre pour les couvents, deeply devout music that Leonhardt performs with absolute command and complete dedication. The remainder of the program is a collection of works by better- and lesser-known composers, ranging from three Voluntaries by John Blow and two Toccatas by Georg Muffat to a Fantasia by Abraham van den Kerchkoven and a Chaconne by Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer, but Leonhardt performs all of them with total commitment and rapturous ecstasy. Alpha's sound is once again the omega of recorded sound.
Though participants in the "authentic performance practice" movement might insist otherwise, the search for the old is really a search for the new. This statement certainly captures the spirit that Dutch keyboardist Gustav Leonhardt brought to his early music performances in the 1950s. His style was characterized not by a rigorous observance of rules, but by the intuitive, almost spiritual connection it tried to establish with the music a kind of authenticity that sought validation not so much from a rigorously academic accuracy (though Leonhardt is by no means historically careless) as from its having an "authentic" effect on the listener.
This two-CD album brings together the two earliest recordings by La Petite Bande. They were made in 1973 and feature landmarks in two important French forms of entertainment—comedie-ballet and opera-ballet. Performed in 1670 at Chambord, one of Louis XIV's grandest country retreats, Le bourgeois gentilhomme was the high water mark of Lully's collaboration with Moliere and was to be the last work of its kind on which the two worked together. Moliere developed the comedie-ballet from the fashionable court ballets, working the dances and music into the body of the play with unparalleled skill. Lully, himself a dancer, proved a gifted partner as the music for Le bourgeois gentilhomme reveals.
In the Telemann mountains, much of the topography remains terra incognita because most of Telemann's music remains an undiscovered country. But whatever future generations of hardy musicologists may uncover, it is unlikely that Telemann's Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites published in Paris in 1738 will be displaced as among his output's highest peaks.
Pygmalion, c'est Narcisse créateur. Au lieu de s'éprendre de lui-même dans son propre reflet, il s'éprend de lui-même dans son reflet "second", sa création. S'adressant à la statue, Pygmalion chante : "Se peut-il que tu sois l'ouvrage de ma main ?" Poser la question, c'est y répondre. Apothéose de l'autosatisfaction.
"With this work a new world opened up to us", wrote the actor singer Eduard Devrient, recalling the momentous revival of the St. Matthew Passion some forty years earlier in 1829, when he was joined by Mendelssohn, then barely out of his teens yet fully able and willing to shoulder the burden of a stupendous musical challenge. Bach's masterpiece was already one hundred years old but could look back on little more than one or two unsatisfactory performances, scant recognition, and not a note in print.
This is one of only two complete recordings of Telemann's Paris Quartets available as a single set, and is much superior to the old Bruggen set. The Kuijkens are all very stylish and engaging performers, and they play these works very well.
Telemann wrote a lot of very good chamber music, but these quartets show him at his best. They are full of wonderful melodies, and some amazing rhythmic quirks. If Telemann had not been so prolific, these works would be considered absolute masterpieces on the order of the Brandenburg Concertos of Bach. They are that good.