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Gus Leonhardt calls it a day :(


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Author Topic: Gus Leonhardt calls it a day :(  (Read 415 times)
Neil McGowan
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« on: December 17, 2011, 08:50:54 pm »

Gustav Leonhardt has been forced to cancel all his future engagements due to weakened health

Le Nouvel Observateur (French)
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t-p
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« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 08:51:57 am »

Thanks from people who don't know French and don't have access to information.
He is amazing performer.

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t-p
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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 08:57:09 am »

I found this pedal harpsichord. I have never seen anything like that. This was probably useful to practice pedals for organ.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 07:04:51 pm »

I believe Baziron had some interesting views about Leonhardt's Bach performances?  I was hoping he might rejoin us and lend his expertise to the discussion? Smiley
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t-p
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 09:09:42 am »

IT would be very interesting to hear!!! I don't know if people can contact him.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 09:16:47 am »

IT would be very interesting to hear!!! I don't know if people can contact him.

I've dropped him a line.
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Baziron
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 10:40:40 am »

IT would be very interesting to hear!!! I don't know if people can contact him.

I've dropped him a line.

Thanks for the email Neil - I'll post something in due course - he is/was a truly amazing performer. Watch this space.

Best - Roger
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Baziron
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2011, 04:20:00 pm »

Gustav Leonhardt has had such a large influence upon my musicianship and understanding of early music that it is difficult to know where to begin! It's just that -well - "everything" about him always "gets" me. His magnificent and monumental performances/recordings of French clavecin music are particularly memorable, through which I actually felt something of the very *personalities* of those players in early times who played them. It was the same with his performance of Froberger's Lament on the Death of Ferdinand III - who would have thought it possible to pack so much emotion, pathos and sheer grandeur into the performance of a seemingly "simple" piece of music covering only 2 pages? The final upward C-major scale (as the soul ascends into the clouds) is a master class of making a C-major scale actually *MEAN* something! Truly magnificent.

Few bothered to appreciate how careful he was in following the original sources, and teasing out their deepest nuances. It is always a fine balance between "keeping to the score" and being original and flexible in performance (especially since that is what most early composers expected). Leonhardt was always a consummate master in striking this fine balance.

I should like, therefore, to exemplify this in his performance of the Bach Italian Concerto. I have put together the following video on my own YouTube channel, superimposing upon his playing a scrolling score of the original Bach print of the first movement. Notice how whenever there are those rare (and delightful) articulation/phrase marks indicated, Leonhardt is meticulous in respecting them. But notice also that the playing is flexible, well-paced and extremely expressive in its melodic continuity. Notice also how the ornaments indicated are precisely played, but (more important) how imaginative he is in providing (to match) all the ornaments that are not written into the score (no doubt being too obvious for the composer to bother).

Leonhardt is, without a doubt, a great genius to be remembered and respected. Bless him!  Smiley

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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2011, 06:36:12 pm »

Thank you so much for that specially-prepared YouTube clip, Baz Smiley  And for the chance to follow the print of Bach's own print with Leonhardt's inspiring performance Smiley
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t-p
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2011, 09:00:24 pm »

Thank you very much for enjoyment I got out of this performance!!!!

I followed the score and articulation is absolutely correct. I articulation and agogic acents and pulls (whatever they are called).
It is very clear and at the same time not mechanical at all.

Now I have to find Froberger's Lament on the Death of Ferdinand III.
 

Thanks for interesting post again.

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Baziron
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 12:17:49 am »

Thanks Neil and t-p. I could go on for ever, but won't!

I should like, however, to offer one further example of Leonhardt's mastery - the D Major Prelude and Fugue (WTC Bk 1) that shows the extraordinary subtlety of his playing, scholarship and understanding. It's a lesson to be truly learned.

The Prelude is often simply rattled off as a virtuoso "study" (like a Chopin Etude). But here Leonhardt demonstrates the most elegant subtlety. If you listen to it "as is" it sounds like a fluent - if slightly down-beat - performance. BUT...you will feel the total integration and expression of melodic and harmonic pacing. You should (ideally) not really notice how he manages this. But (this time only perhaps!) just concentrate on a number of performance details to understand how he registers the harmonic and melodic pacing.

If you keep in mind a strict pulse, concentrate on how Leonhardt slightly (and very very slightly indeed) lingers continually on certain beats (sometimes the first beat of the bar, and at other times the third beat) to allow the harmonic change to "register" in the mind. It is a very subtle kind of rubato - and one that you are not expected to notice (unless an idiot like me draws your attention to it that is!). But what it does is draw the ear to the harmonic structure. Sometimes it also pinpoints the melodic structure. This shows how - in Bach's thinking - melody and harmony work together to produce a wonderful synthesis.

In the following Fugue Leonhardt demonstrates a positive way of dealing with double-dots. This overtly pompous French-Overture-style piece (although still a fugue) presents a style that should permeate the whole movement - as Leonhardt allows it to. In the video below I have provided a scrolling display of the original Bach notation, and you will notice (if you are attentive) that at certain points a contemporary hand (possibly Bach's?) has drawn lines between the staves to show how the dotted notes should line up with the surrounding parts. Notice, therefore, how attentive Leonhardt is to this! It's a true masterpiece of performance panache. ENJOY!

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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2011, 04:22:55 am »


Now I have to find Froberger's Lament on the Death of Ferdinand III.
 

Hi Lena Smiley)

The Complete Keyboard Works are here Smiley  But he was a prolific chap, and you may have to dig through them to find the Lament Smiley  I shall be looking too Smiley  Although I'm a ropey keyboard player, there is much to be learned by working your own way through a piece at the keyboard, rather than merely listening to a recording Smiley

But I will certainly listen to the new Leonhardt clip when I can - just at the moment I am in a location where I can't use the sound Smiley  But it gives me something to look forward to this evening Smiley

I shall be in the Netherlands over the New Year - perhaps I shall have the chance to enrich my cd collection with some of Leonhardt's recordings? Smiley
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Baziron
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2011, 07:34:37 am »



Now I have to find Froberger's Lament on the Death of Ferdinand III.
 

It's here (below) - though it's for Ferdinand IV (sorry for the previous error!). It needs to be performed very flexibly - rather like an unmeasured prelude of the French style brisť type. Leonhardt does this superbly - but this performance is NOT by Leonhardt (which I have somewhere but only on LP). It's still a nice performance though, but at the end (as the soul of the departed rises into the clouds of heaven) Leonhardt does not let the movement slow down with a rallentando (as here) - preferring instead to allow the spirit to ascend to heaven with all due speed and without impediment (merely lingering on the last note as confirmation that the heavenly goal has been attained)!  Smiley

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t-p
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 04:17:12 pm »

Thanks for Froberger. I had good time this afternoon searching and listening.
T
I discovered several lamentations there. I investigated this composer (thanks to google). He was one of the first composers that wrote keyboard suites.


I have to be satisfied with youtube for now.



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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 05:11:30 pm »

The Wikipedia article about Froberger seems competent and well-written (unlike much of Wikipedia!), but it contains a phrase which mystifies me.

Quote
In 1649 Froberger travelled back to Austria. On his way back he stopped in Florence and Mantua to show the arca musurgica, a powerful compositional device Kircher taught him, to some of the Italian princes.

Does anyone know what this arca musurgica, actually was?  Baz?
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