This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here is another of Gustav Leonhardt's mixed programmes but this one, unlike the earlier European grand tour ((CD) 426 352-2PH, 4/90), is confined to German repertory and is played not on the harpsichord but on the clavichord. The earliest music is by Christian Ritter, who was born in the mid seventeenth century and who was based mainly in Halle where he was employed as an organist. His Suite in F sharp minor is an appealing work somewhat in the manner of Froberger; the opening Allemande is beautifully written and well sustained and the poignant Sarabande an affecting piece built on a descending octave pattern which gives it the character of a lament.
The remaining pieces are drawn from the Bach family bran tub with clairvoyant
skill. Johann Sebastian Bach is represented by the Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV904 and by the French Suite in C minor, BWV813. The Fantasia and Fugue is one of Bach's most highly developed works of its kind, apart from the 48; Leonhardt has already given us a fine performance of it on the harpsichord in an earlier J. S. Bach recital (Philips (CD) 416 141-2PH, 5/86), as indeed has Andreas Staier in a more recent Bach recital (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/BMG (CD) RD77039, 10/89). Perhaps the fugue, a double one, fares better on a clavichord than the fantasia which loses some of its toccata-like splendour. Even so, Leonhardt held my attention with clearly articulated phrases and rhetorical gestures. The French Suite comes over well with notably lively responses from Leonhardt in the Courante, graceful shaping of the Air and Menuet, and a pleasingly reflective Sarabande.
Bach's eldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann is represented by three of his 12 Polonaises, F12; they were almost certainly composed for the clavichord and are a fine testament to Friedemann's expressive keyboard style. Leonhardt's choice includes two of the most profoundly affecting of the Polonaises, in E minor and F minor and his performance, improvisatory in character and deeply felt, does them justice. Leonhardt ends his recital with three Sonatas by Friedemann's younger brother, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Two of them, in G minor and D minor come from a set of six (Wq51) dating from the early 1760s when Emanuel was employed by Frederick the Great. The other in B minor/F sharp minor, comes from another set of six (Wq63) probably dating from the early to mid 1750s. Leonhardt interprets the music with passion, insight and a virtuoso technique involving the listener with all the skill of an accomplished raconteur. Fine recording.
-- Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [8/1990]
Works on This Recording
French Suite no 2 in C minor, BWV 813 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Written: circa 1724; Leipzig, Germany
Date of Recording: 05/1988
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