Gustav Leonhardt

Composers

Biography

Born: May 30, 1928; Amsterdam, Netherlands   Died: January 16, 2012; Amsterdam, Netherlands  
Though participants in the "authentic performance practice" movement might insist otherwise, the search for the old is really a search for the new. This statement certainly captures the spirit that Dutch keyboardist Gustav Leonhardt began bringing to his early music performances in the 1950s. His style was characterized not by a rigorous observance of rules, but by the intuitive, almost spiritual connection it tried to establish with the music -- Read more a kind of authenticity that sought validation not so much from a rigorously academic accuracy (though Leonhardt is by no means historically careless) as from its having an "authentic" effect on the listener.

Born in Amsterdam in 1928, Leonhardt learned cello and piano before entering the Schola Cantorum in Basel to study organ and harpsichord with Eduard Müller. After graduating in 1950, he undertook a year of musicological studies before accepting a position at the Vienna Academy. Shortly thereafter, he returned to his home town, where he assumed a position at the Amsterdam Conservatory that he would keep for decades thereafter.

His first public performance took place in 1950, when he performed J.S. Bach's The Art of the Fugue for a Viennese audience. This marked the beginning of a legendary and influential career that would take him to performance venues all over the world, setting stylistic and interpretive standards for keyboard music dating from the early 1500s to the late 1700s. His treatment of the works of Couperin, Froberger, and Frescobaldi were pivotal in affecting a shift in Baroque performance practice from the motoric to the malleable.

Beginning in the 1950s, he also established the Leonhardt Consort, a group applying his same performance ideals to chamber works; during his career he also demonstrated great skill in conducting early choral and operatic works. Along the way, he tutored an entire generation of the most vibrant and stylistically varied early music figures, including Christopher Hogwood, Pierre Hantaï, and Ton Koopman.

When Leonhardt speaks of "correct" style, certain parameters are clear, while others leave much to be read between the lines. The use of the proper instrument, for example, is crucial to Leonhardt: one should not play a piece from a particular country and a particular time on an instrument from a different region and century (and of course it goes without saying what problems he might have with playing eighteenth century music on a twentieth century Steinway). His discussion of style, however, is quite flexible -- or at least elusive: "I cannot say it's a secret, but it's almost impossible to describe in words....Essentially, it must be based on a dynamic wish." Though he does consult primary sources to justify his sound -- which falls somewhere between the rubato sound of Landowska and the robotic sound of her immediate successors, he insists that the truest "rules" about the music he plays are to be discovered through the playing itself. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 62 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bach: Goldberg Variations / Leonhardt
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554599 Release Date: 04/15/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
    CD: $13.99
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  • 2.
    Sweelinck: Complete Keyboard Works / Van Der Kamp, Gesualdo Consort Amsterdam
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 922410 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous,  Jacob Praetorius,  Jan Utenhove  ... 
    Performer:  Bernard Winsemius,  Harry van Berne,  Harry Van der Kamp,  Nele Gramß  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Van der Kamp
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gesualdo Consort
    CD: $48.99
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  • 3.
    Telemann: Tafelmusik
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 694572 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann
    Performer:  Joke Vermeulen,  Brian Pollard,  Frans Vester,  Gustav Leonhardt  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Amsterdam
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  • 4.
    Das Alte Werk - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 46438 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Orlando Gibbons  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Tachezi,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frans Brüggen,  Jeannette Van Wingerden  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Werner Ehrhardt,  Giovanni Antonini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Leonhardt Consort,  Studio for Early Music  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 5.
    Frans Bruggen Edition
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 65836 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Barsanti,  Francesco Maria Veracini  ... 
    Performer:  Frans Brüggen,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Anner Bylsma,  Alda Stuurop  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brüggen-Consort
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  • 6.
    Elly Ameling - The Early Recordings Vol 1
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 26613 Release Date: 12/21/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann  ... 
    Performer:  Angelica May,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Elly Ameling,  Hans-Martin Linde
    Conductor:  Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden,  Rudolf Pohl
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Aureum
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  • 7.
    The Arhend & Brunzema Organ - Amsterdam's Oude Kerk / Leonhardt, Imbruno
    Label: Tactus   Catalog: 5700010 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Scheidemann,  Anthoni Van Noordt,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Matteo Imbruno
    CD: $12.99
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  • 8.
    All-Baroque Box (From Monteverdi To Bach) [50-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 001719702 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Harvey,  Stephen Varcoe,  Anthony Rolfe Johnson,  Michael Chance  ... 
    Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner,  Paul McCreesh,  Marc Minkowski,  Trevor Pinnock  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Baroque Soloists,  Monteverdi Choir,  Gabrieli Consort  ... 
    CD: $133.99
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  • 9.
    A Tribute To Gustav Leonhardt: The Last Recordings
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 815 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Abraham van den Kerckhove,  Johann Caspar Fischer,  Georg Muffat  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Pablo Valetti
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann
    CD: $37.49
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  • 10.
    The Complete Bach Edition
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 664202 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 154
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Max van Egmond,  Kurt Equiluz,  Paul Esswood,  Walter Gampert  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Jaap Schröder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Chorus Viennensis,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
    CD: $437.49
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  • 11.
    Bach - Earthly and Divine [6 CDs+Book]
    Label: Alpha Productions   Catalog: 889 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Raphaël Imbert,  Ferruccio Busoni,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Jean-Luc Di Fraya,  Raphaël Imbert,  André Rossi,  Jean-Marc Fabiano  ... 
    Conductor:  Raphaël Imbert,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Raphaël Pichon,  Françoise Lasserre  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Café Zimmermann,  Akademia Ensemble,  La Chapelle Royale  ... 
    CD: $68.99
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  • 12.
    The Bach Experience
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 80821 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Angela Maria Blasi,  Marie-Claire Alain,  Alan Curtis,  Ton Koopman  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Ton Koopman,  Hans Gillesberger
    CD: $16.99
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  • 13.
    Louis Couperin: Suites & Pavane / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 69281 Release Date: 01/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Louis Couperin
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 14.
    Bach: Partitas / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47996 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 15.
    Alfred Deller Complete Vanguard Recordings - Music Of Handel, Bach & English Renaissance / 6-Disc Set
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 195 Release Date: 03/10/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
    Conductor:  Alfred Deller
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deller Consort
    CD: $39.99
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  • 16.
    Bach: Suite Bwv 996, Toccata Bwv 914, Etc / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 416141 Release Date: 11/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 17.
    History Of The Organ Vol 2 - From Sweelinck To Bach
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 102113 Release Date: 09/30/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Matthias Weckmann,  Dietrich Buxtehude,  Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck  ... 
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Bernard Foccroulle,  Hans Heintze
    On sale! $19.99
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  • 18.
    Alfred Deller Complete Vanguard Recordings - Music Of Henry Purcell / 7-Disc Set
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 194 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  John Blow
    Performer:  George Malcolm,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Granville Jones,  Desmond Dupré  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Alfred Deller,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Michael Tippett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leonhardt Consort,  Kalmar Chamber Orchestra London,  Deller Consort  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 19.
    Gustav Leonhardt: Clavichord Recital
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422349 Release Date: 07/23/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Wilhelm Friedemann Bach,  August Gottfried Ritter
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 20.
    Froberger: Works For Harpsichord / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Dhm Deutsche Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 7923 Release Date: 07/10/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Jacob Froberger
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 21.
    François & Louis Couperin: Pièces De Clavecin / Leonhardt
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420939 Release Date: 05/15/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  François Couperin,  Louis Couperin,  Armand-Louis Couperin
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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  • 22.
    Blow: Venus And Adonis, Organ Voluntaries / Pickett, Leonhardt
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 473713 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Blow
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt,  Libby Crabtree,  Michael George,  Catherine Bott
    Conductor:  Philip Pickett
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir,  New London Consort Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Hotteterre: Complete Wind Music / Brüggen, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Seon   Catalog: 62942 Release Date: 08/09/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jacques Hotteterre
    Performer:  Shelley Gruskin,  Frans Brüggen,  Wieland Kuijken,  Gustav Leonhardt  ... 
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  • 24.
    Lawes: The Royal Consort / Jacobs, Kuijkens, Leonhardt
    Label: Sony Classical Seon   Catalog: 63179 Release Date: 06/21/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  William Lawes
    Performer:  Wieland Kuijken,  Lucy Van Dael,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Sigiswald Kuijken  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 25.
    Frescobaldi: Works For Harpsichord / Gustav Leonhardt
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 432128 Release Date: 06/08/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Girolamo Frescobaldi
    Performer:  Gustav Leonhardt
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