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Classical - Released May 4, 2012 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 1, 1964 | Warner Classics

The discography of Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma, who recently passed away, is being put back online. Bylsma holds the continuo part on this Gustav Leonhardt’s recording from 1964 dedicated to quite rarely-recorded informal Bach works intended for domestic performance, originating mainly from Anna Magdalena and Wilhelm Friedemann notebooks and Schemelli’s song collection. Vocal parts are sung by accomplished artists such as Agnes Giebel or Marie-Luise Gilles.
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Classical - Released November 15, 2005 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released October 1, 2007 | Alpha

This disc coupling two of Bach's secular cantatas has many, many things going for it and only one thing going against it. First, it has fascinating -- and rarely performed or recorded -- repertoire. Angenehmes Wiederau, BWV 30a (Charming Wiederau), is a rewritten version of the sacred cantata Freue dich, erloste Schar, BWV 30 (Rejoice, redeemed souls), while Vereingte Zwietracht der wechselnden Saiten, BWV 207 (United discord of strings), is an earlier version of the secular cantata Auf, schmetternde Tone der muntern Trompeten, BWV 207a (Blare forth, proud trumpets). Second, both works are magnificently scored: Angenehmes Wiederau for bass, alto, soprano and tenor soloists, chorus, pairs of flutes and oboes, three trumpets plus tympani, strings, and basso continuo; Vereingte Zwietracht for tenor, bass, soprano, and alto soloists and a chorus, pairs of flutes and oboes, a trio of trumpets plus tympani, strings, and lute and harpsichord continuo with bassoon, cello, and double bass. Third, both works are superbly sung by soprano Monika Frimmer, tenor Markus Schäfer, bass Stephan MacLeod, and Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles directed by Olivier Schneebeli and superlatively played by Café Zimmermann. Fourth, and best of all, the performers are led by the venerable Gustav Leonhardt, the famous Dutch keyboard player and conductor, who presides over performances that are unbelievably insightful, incredibly joyful, and consummately musical. The only flaw here is alto Robin Blaze, whose singing may for some tastes be too fey. Still, as recorded in vivid and immediate digital sound by Alpha productions, this disc deserves to be heard by anyone deep into Bach's cantatas. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 12, 1992 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 15, 2005 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released May 1, 1990 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released June 3, 1994 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released December 1, 1998 | Warner Classics International

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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released January 21, 2000 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released March 3, 1995 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released March 14, 2011 | Sony Classical

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 8, 1990 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released March 22, 2004 | deutsche harmonia mundi

This is a reissue of a classic Leonhardt performance. What makes it a classic is Leonhardt's ideal combination of extremely skillful technique and musical understanding, not only of the various forms Bach uses throughout the Goldberg Variations (fugue, canon, etc.) but also of the character of each variation. The opening Aria is an aria, sung by the right hand to the accompaniment of a counter-melody in the left hand. Then follow the variations. The slower ones are impressive for Leonhardt's thoughtful approach, and the faster ones are impressive for their brilliance and speed. Leonhardt has no trouble quickly switching character and mood between variations. Variation 14 is one of those fast ones, where you wonder how he can achieve such speed, immediately followed by a vastly contrasting, slow canon. Just after that is the grand, imposing, and complex overture that opens the second half of the work. Variation 25 is fascinating in its almost improvisational sound. It's followed by another that shows off Leonhardt's incredible dexterity. Leonhardt's reading gives you a greater understanding of the genius of Bach and the Goldberg Variations, but it is also a lively, imaginative, and thoroughly engaging performance. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 22, 2011 | Warner Classics

The "4 Pleasure" title of this series from Virgin Classics both indicates its presumed purpose and tells you there are four CDs in the box. But it makes these sets look like they came out of Prince's classical CD library, and the photo on the cover of this set, showing a hand lining up shells on top of a mossy rock, is probably enough to get the box put in the new age bin by a hurried clerk. Thinking inside the box, however, we find a solid reissue of some classic Bach performances by Dutch harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt. Leonhardt offered beautifully recorded Bach albums on meticulously restored harpsichords of the composer's time, and the result was harpsichord music with a big, ringing sound that got the ears of people who until then had preferred their Bach on a piano. He was never in better form than on these recordings, made in 1984 and 1986 in the Doopsgezinde Gemeente Kerk in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The English Suites (no one is quite sure why they are so called, but there's nothing particularly English about them) and Partitas are sets of mostly short, dance-inspired movements invested by Bach with dizzying, coruscating contrapuntal complexity. Leonhardt's approach is sometimes described as severe, and there are keyboard players who find more gemütlichkeit in Bach's music. But the harpsichord is probably the instrument of choice with these suites, and the tense muscularity of Leonhardt's playing makes for a very satisfyingly exciting ride in the faster movements. One problematic issue to note is that Leonhardt eliminates some repeats in some of the longer slow movements, a risky move with Bach, but this longtime scholar-performer surely had his reasons. On the whole, though there are still the Glenn Gould and Murray Perahia recordings available for those who like a sound world closer to our own, these Leonhardt discs make a very good choice for a basic Bach library and, with their low price, a good start on Bach for anybody. The liner notes are a bit spare but informative enough. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released February 2, 2004 | Warner Classics