Leonhardt: Bach – Harpsichord Concertos (3 CD box set, APE)

Leonhardt: Bach - Harpsichord Concertos (3 CD box set, APE)

Performer: Gustav Leonhardt, Leonhardt Consort, Herbert Tachezi, Anneke Uittenbosch, et al.
Orchestra: Concentus Musicus Wien, Leonhardt-Consort
Conductor: Gustav Leonhardt, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Audio CD
SPARS Code: A-D
Number of Discs: 3 CD
Label: Teldec
Size: 1.17 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 3 in D major, BWV 1054
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 2 in E major, BWV 1053
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, 2 recorders, strings & continuo No. 6 in F major, BWV 1057
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Vienna Concentus Musicus, Herbert Tachezi
Conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt

# Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in D minor, BWV 1063
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Anneke Uittenbosch, Leonhardt Consort, Alan Curtis, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1061
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Anneke Uittenbosch, Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1064
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Anneke Uittenbosch, Leonhardt Consort, Alan Curtis, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1062
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Eduard Muller, Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1060
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Eduard Muller, Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for 4 harpsichords, strings & continuo in A minor (after Vivaldi, RV 580), BWV 1065
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Anneke Uittenbosch, Eduard Muller, Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, oboe, strings & continuo No. 8 in D minor (incomplete), BWV 1059
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

# Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
with Leonhardt Consort, Gustav Leonhardt

Disc: 1
01. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055: Allegro
02. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055: Larghetto
03. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 4 in A major, BWV 1055: Allegro ma non tanto
04. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056: [Allegro]
05. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056: Largo
06. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5 in F minor, BWV 1056: Presto
07. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 3 in D major, BWV 1054: [Allegro]
08. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 3 in D major, BWV 1054: Adagio e sempre piano
09. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 3 in D major, BWV 1054: Allegro
10. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 2 in E major, BWV 1053: [Allegro]
11. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 2 in E major, BWV 1053: Siciliano
12. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 2 in E major, BWV 1053: Allegro
13. Concerto for harpsichord, 2 recorders, strings & continuo No. 6 in F major, BWV 1057: [Allegro]
14. Concerto for harpsichord, 2 recorders, strings & continuo No. 6 in F major, BWV 1057: Andante
15. Concerto for harpsichord, 2 recorders, strings & continuo No. 6 in F major, BWV 1057: Allegro assai

Disc: 2
01. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052: Allegro
02. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052: Adagio
03. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052: Allegro
04. Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in D minor, BWV 1063: [Allegro]
05. Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in D minor, BWV 1063: Alla Siciliana
06. Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in D minor, BWV 1063: Allegro
07. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1061: [Allegro]
08. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1061: Adagio ovvero Largo (Quartetto tacet)
09. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1061: Fuga Vivace
10. Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1064: Allegro
11. Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1064: Adagio
12. Concerto for 3 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C major, BWV 1064: Allegro

Disc: 3
01. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1062: [Allegro]
02. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1062: Andante e piano
03. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1062: Allegro assai
04. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1060: Allegro
05. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1060: Largo ovvero Adagio
06. Concerto for 2 harpsichords, strings & continuo in C minor, BWV 1060: Allegro
07. Concerto for 4 harpsichords, strings & continuo in A minor (after Vivaldi, RV 580), BWV 1065: [Allegro]
08. Concerto for 4 harpsichords, strings & continuo in A minor (after Vivaldi, RV 580), BWV 1065: Largo
09. Concerto for 4 harpsichords, strings & continuo in A minor (after Vivaldi, RV 580), BWV 1065: Allegro
10. Concerto for harpsichord, oboe, strings & continuo No. 8 in D minor (incomplete), BWV 1059: [Allegro]
11. Concerto for harpsichord, oboe, strings & continuo No. 8 in D minor (incomplete), BWV 1059: [Adagio]
12. Concerto for harpsichord, oboe, strings & continuo No. 8 in D minor (incomplete), BWV 1059: [Presto]
13. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058: [Allegro]
14. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058: Andante
15. Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 7 in G minor, BWV 1058: Allegro assai

The Bach Harpsichord Concertos

This collection was first compiled in 1970 or so from recordings dating as far back as 1961. The set, now remastered and issued on cd, includes performances by three generations of harpsichordists, with Gustav Leonhardt providing the central focus. Leonhardt includes (in BWV 1060, 1062 and 1065) his former teacher from the Schola Cantorum in Basle, Eduard Mueller (the student modestly playing second harpsichord to his mentor in 1060 and 1065) while his own first-generation students Anneke Uittenbosch and Alan Curtis join him for BWV 1061, 1063-1065. Completing the quartet of soloists in BWV 1065 is the generation-before-Leonhardt Dutch harpsichordist, Janny van Waring. Another “star of the show” is Leonhardt’s harpsichord, based on the J.D. Dulcken instruments of 1745, and built in 1962 by the great German harpsichord maker, Martin Skowroneck of Bremen. It was with this fine harpsichord (now owned by Bob van Asperen) that Leonhardt finally acquired an instrument which was worthy of his truly formidable gifts. In the same way that Landowska’s playing was intimately connected with the sound of the Pleyel harpsichord which she used from 1912 to 1957, Leonhardt now had an easily identifiable “sound” of his own. It was used in the solo concerto recordings except for BWV 1057 & 1058 (which had already been recorded in 1961). In the two triple harpsichord concertos, Leonhardt is joined by Alan Curtis and Anneke Uittenbosch playing two more of Skowroneck’s Dulcken models. Needless to say, the producer for all these recordings (and the guiding light of the “Das alte Werk” series) was the redoubtable Wolf Erichson.
Leonhardt’s performances of six of the seven great solo concerti (BWV 1053-1058), plus his own reconstruction of an eighth (BWV 1059, of which only nine bars were written out by Bach – the rest was assembled by Leonhardt from the instrumental movements contained in Cantata BWV 35), are classics of the recorded harpsichord repertoire. It is true that they show their age in some ways (mostly due to the recording standards, especially in the 1961 recordings), but they still offer the listener the most direct and “authentic” available encounter with Bach’s pre-eminent works. Great musicianship is timeless, and I’m sure that future generations of listeners will continue to draw inspiration from these great monuments of the “period instrument” revival. Good music (and music-making) is forever.
Those looking for Leonhardt’s performance of the d minor solo concerto (BWV 1052) will not find it here (he recorded it both earlier and later, most recently for SEON). However the performance included here, by Herbert Tachezi, playing a magnificent Skowroneck Italian single manual harpsichord from 1957 (which belongs to Nikolaus Harnoncourt) with Concentus Musicus Wien, is just as great in its own way as Leonhardt’s. Notice, in this performance, the “meantone” tuning of the harpsichord (and strings!). It’s really beautiful, and beautifully recorded, too.
Younger generation listeners who have grown up with later versions of these works should do themselves a favour and go straight to the source. Gustav Leonhardt continues amongst us – a shining presence at the age of 74. These recordings will forever document the enormous debt which the world of “authentic performance” owes to him. These performances will never be bettered: perhaps, in time, equalled.
Mention should be made of the members of Leonhardt’s ensemble, the Leonhardt-Consort, led by his wife, Marie. The string sound is unusually full-bodied for just single strings, and the energy and beauty of the performances are infectious. It’s a pity that the present set doesn’t include the great performance (with Frans Brueggen and Marie Leonhardt) of the a minor concerto for harpsichord, flute and violin (BWV 1044). And the engineers still haven’t repaired the gross editing mistake in the third movement of BWV 1053, where bar 65 is spliced in twice! (Amazing that this hasn’t been picked up by somebody – Leonhardt, perhaps?!). However, don’t let these small caveats deter you from investigating this uniquely fine set. Like all the greatest old masters, this one’s flaws merely remind us of its supremely commanding overall stature.
Strongest recommendation.

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