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Classical - Released January 1, 2002 | Alpha

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - Recommandé par Classica - 4F de Télérama - Joker de Crescendo
Gustav Leonhardt proves that he still can perform with erudition and freshness with these pieces by Frescobaldi and Louis Couperin. The sophistication of the music is all there, and so is the sense of improvisation. In the Frescobaldi, Leonhardt shapes phrases and sections of music to sound as if they were spontaneous dialogues and conversations between refined intellectuals. Even so, and at a moderate pacing, they are actively involved and not dryly academic. The refinement is also a strong feature of Couperin's highly stylized dances. Also at a moderate pacing that rarely varies, even between movements of the suites, his music comes across as being used for dances at the highest levels of society. It is as if only the finest people, dressed in the finest silks and satins, would dance to Couperin's music, and yet Leonhardt still infuses it with some warmth so that it is not at all staid. The only unfortunate aspect of this album is that sameness of tempo throughout the program. Without the contrast of more widely varying tempos between pieces, particularly in the Couperin suites where every piece is also in the same key, the listener can easily lose focus and thereby miss out on the details of the music and the performance, both of which deserve attention. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - 3F de Télérama
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. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Alpha

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc du Monde de la Musique - Cannes Classical Music Award - 9 de Classica-Répertoire
If the Alpha label had done nothing more than return Gustav Leonhardt to the studio, it would still be one of the best contemporary classical record companies. That everything else about its releases -- the sound, the liner notes, even the reproductions on the covers -- is as good or better than what any other classical company manages is only icing on the cake. Leonhardt has been one of the finest harpsichordists in the world for more than 40 years, and his recordings of the repertoire from Frescobaldi to Bach have been the standards against which all other recordings have been judged. But Leonhardt had made no recordings for most of the last decade, and listeners began to wonder if he ever would again. Now, with his fourth release for Alpha, listeners can finally relax, confident in the knowledge that Leonhardt has indeed returned. This 2005 disc of keyboard music by Byrd finds Leonhardt at the top of his form. As always, his technique is secure, and nothing in Byrd's virtuoso writing is beyond him. And, as always, his musicianship is assured, and nothing in Byrd's sensitive music is beyond him. Leonhardt's Pavanes are stately yet soulful, his Galliards are exciting yet playful, his character pieces are amusing yet graceful, and his closing Fantasia is controlled yet colorful. If one could have a complaint about this disc, it is that at 52 minutes, it might seem too short. But so full of delight and wonder are Leonhardt's performances that only a curmudgeon would dare criticize them. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire - Recommandé par Classica
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Chamber Music - Released August 28, 2009 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Chamber Music - Released March 26, 2010 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Chamber Music - Released March 26, 2010 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 1, 1988 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Recorded in the pretty old town of Haarlem in the Netherlands in May 1987, this album, dedicated to the Couperin dynasty (of Louis, François and Louis-Armand) is like a distillation of a whole life's worth of practice and reflections on the French music of the 17th century that Leonhardt so loved. In it, we find the great harpsichordist's sobriety, his way of deploying his immense erudition and his own Dutch heritage, which bring to the music an almost monastic inwardness. But for all his intimate knowledge of the music and the wisdom of his years, Gustav Leonhardt seems here to let himself go with joyful abandon, setting the keys alight with his liberty and refinement. The programme is like a meditation on solitude, from Louis Couperin's austere Suite in D Minor to Louis-Armand's gallant pieces, via the Preludes from L’Art de toucher le clavecin by the great François. The impressive calm of Dodo ou L’Amour au berceau, the graceful effervescence of L’Évaporée, the elegance of La Princesse de Chabeuil and the joyous final pirouette of L’Arlequine are all spirited flights that reaffirm the Dutch harpsichordist's pre-eminent position in the heart of the baroque musical movement. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released October 1, 1997 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released May 15, 2012 | Alpha

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
Alpha Productions released A Tribute to Gustav Leonhardt: The Last Recordings about six months after the prodigious musician's death in January 2012. The set is made up of the last five albums Leonhardt recorded over his long career, made between 2001 and 2007. They fortuitously include examples of the three performing disciplines for which he was renowned -- as an organist, harpsichordist, and choral conductor -- and are infused with the depth of musicological research and insight that he brought to all his endeavors. It's an immensely satisfying collection, a fitting, mature, autumnal summation of a long and illustrious career, made up of music of the Baroque, along with some late Renaissance repertoire, much of it from off the beaten path. Regardless of medium, his performances were refined and elegant but with a lively internal energy and an unerring sense of pacing. They were always disciplined, but a listener could never come away from hearing him playing or conducting and think of Baroque music as predictable or metronomic. Three of the discs are devoted to harpsichord music of France, Germany, England, and Italy; one disc to a similarly broad collection of pieces for organ; and one disc to two secular cantatas by J.S. Bach, in which he's expertly joined by Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and the chamber orchestra Café Zimmermann. Alpha's sound is impeccable, detailed, and immediate. © TiVo
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Chamber Music - Released January 30, 2015 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 1, 1985 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released November 16, 2012 | Sony Classical

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Vocal Recitals - Released March 30, 1990 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released December 1, 1995 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Chamber Music - Released March 29, 2010 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 2, 1990 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Classical - Released May 4, 2012 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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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