L’Esprit Baroque

A Sunday programme in the ‘baroque spirit’. The CD box ‘A tribute to Gustav Leonhardt’ was recently released with the label ALPHA. In this episode, a selection of music from these 5 CDs.

This 5-CD box (released on the occasion of Leonhardt’s death on 16 January this year) contains the last 5 recordings that Gustav Leonhardt made for the label over the past 10 years.
At the same time, this box gives a good impression of keyboard music from the late Renaissance to Bach.
Besides the information about music, the CD booklet also contains 3 letters from musicians who have worked with Leonhardt. Here are some fragments from the letter written by conductor Philippe Herreweghe (translated into English):
"I had the privilege of working with Gustav Leonhardt in the 1970s, during the recording of the complete Bach cantates for Telefunken. […] So for a few years I found myself conducting the children of the wonderful Hanover Knabenchor, the tenors and basses of the Collegium Vocale, and an orchestra composed of extraordinary musicians, such as Frans Brüggen, Anner Bylsma, and Gustav Leonhardt himself, at the organ. He was the artistic director, of course – and what an artistic director he was!
We discovered with wonderment music of incredible beauty; the recording sessions were fascinating, as we got to know Gustav Leonhardt’s insight and inspiration. Such moments for me were very precious.
[…] Gustav Leonhardt’s ethics as regards music were absolutely pure. Beauty reveals the truth, the fact that the interpreter must approach the text with great humility; our ego can only taint the score; rich intuition can do nothing without the pertinence of intelligence and knowledge.
Within Gustav Leonhardt there was a profound and radiant beauty. His gravity was tempered in everyday life by humour and a unique form of irony. He influenced me irreversibly. He will always be a beacon in my life and in my life as a musician."
Philippe Herreweghe
François Couperin (1668-1733)
1. Messe propre pour les convents de religieux & religieuses
– Plein Jeu – Premier couplet du Kyrie
– Dialogue – 5ème & dernier couplet du Kyrie
– Chromehorne sur la Taille – 5ème couplet du Gloria
– Récit de tierce – 8ème couplet du Gloria
– Offertoire sur les grands jeux
– Elévation – Tierce en Taille
– Agnus Dei
Gustav Leonhardt, orgel Dom Bedos van de Sainte-Croix in Bordeaux
(ALPHA 815 disc 1, 2001/2012)
Louis Couperin (ca.1626-1661)
2. Suite en ré majeur
– Prélude
– Allemande
– Courante
– Sarabande
– Gaillarde
– Chaconne
– Passacaille en sol mineur
Gustav Leonhardt, French harpsichord after Emile Jobin (Vincent Tibaut)
(ALPHA 815 disc 2, 2002/2012)
Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612)
3. Canzon
William Byrd (ca.1542-1623)
4. Queens Alman
Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
5. Fantasia II
Johann Sebastian Bach
6. Aria variata BWV 989
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
7. Toccata in G
Gustav Leonhardt, claviorganum (Matthias Griewisch, 2001) and German harpsichord (Anthony Sidey, 1995)
(ALPHA 815 disc 3, 2003/2012)
William Byrd
8. Galliard (16b)
9. Rowland (7)
10. La Volta (91)
11. Fantasia (13)
Gustav Leonhardt, copy of harpsichord by Lodewijk Theewes (1579)
(ALPHA 815 disc 4, 2004/2012)
Johann Sebastian Bach
12. Kantate Vereinigte Zwietracht, BWV 207 (1726)
– Coro
– Recitativo
– Aria Tenor
– Recitativo
– Aria Duetto
– Ritornello
– Recitativo
– Aria Alto
– Recitativo
– Coro
Monika Frimmer, soprano. Robin Blaze, altus. Markus Schäfer, tenor. Stephan MacLeod, bass.
Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. Café Zimmermann led by Gustav Leonhardt.
(ALPHA 815 disc 5, 2007/2012)

Gustav Leonhardt on a claviorganum