Academic journal article Fontes Artis Musicae

Gustav Leonhardt (30 May 1928-16 January 2012)

Academic journal article Fontes Artis Musicae

Gustav Leonhardt (30 May 1928-16 January 2012)

Article excerpt

One of the most influential and widely hailed figures in the modern early music movement, conductor, harpsichordist and organist Gustav Leonhardt, died on January 16.

Just a month before, after a concert at Paris, he abruptly announced that he had just given his last public performance. As well as a keyboard-player of rare distinction (he played the harpsichord, pipe organ, claviorganum, clavichord and fortepiano), he was also celebrated as a conductor, teacher and scholar.

Leonhardt was one of the premier shapers of modern understandings of Johann Sebastian Bach's music. Along with his colleague Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Leonhardt created a landmark first recording cycle of all of Bach's cantatas played on original instruments. The project, started in 1971, took nearly 20 years to complete. As a keyboard player, Leonhardt recorded the Goldberg Variations three times and most of Bach's other keyboard music at least once, if not twice. Although his repertoire ranged from early Elizabethan keyboard music to early Mozart, it was the music of the baroque that was at the centre of his musical interest. …

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