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.
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.
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.
Led by Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonia Orchestra are captured at their very best in these live performances of Mahler's Nine Symphonies. Recorded in concert at London's Royal Festival Hall, the symphonies include performances by soloists and ensembles including Sarah Connolly, Michelle Deyoung, Philharmonia Voices and the BBC Symphony Chorus. Praise for these performances has been near universal…'You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording.' (BBC Radio 3) '…Maazel could sustain this score in a way that seemed to transcend reality…a tremendously moving experience.' (Classical Source) 'an extraordinary reading of the Ninth…a performance touched by greatness.' (Musicweb International).