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Goldberg Variations BWV 988
Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)
Leonhardt’s Goldberg on Vanguard


J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations

Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Gustav Leonhardt (Harpsichord)

Vanguard Classics / Bach Guild / Artemis

Jun 1953

CD / TT: 54:19

1st recording of Goldberg Variations B988 by G. Leonhardt. Recorded at Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria.
Review: Leonhardt’s Goldberg on Vanguard
Discussions: Goldberg Variations BWV 988 - played by Gustav Leonhardt
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Leonhardt’s Goldberg on Vanguard

Donald Satz wrote (August 28, 2001):
As I keep listening to Gustav Leonhardt's Goldberg Variations on Vanguard, my affection for the performance only deepens. He provides a command and stature that's much stronger than in his Teldec recording. Although Brad has been highly critical of the Vanguard issue and also of Rosalyn Tureck's approach to the GV's, I am just as enamored of these performances. Both artists are among the best that ever recorded Bach keyboard works; don't miss out just because some other listeners have different preferences.


Feedback to the Review

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 28, 2001):
[To Donald Satz] Fair enough! But I still think Leonhardt's dhm (or Pro Arte or Intersound) recording from August 1976 blows away both the earlier Teldec and Vanguard. How soon are you going to pick that one up for comparison? Why settle for less than Leonhardt's own best work? :)

p.s. Don't just take my word for it how great this dhm recording is. Listen to the samples at German Amazon:

Of Leonhardt's three recordings I think this one has the strongest and most multi-faceted interpretation, cleanest playing, clearest sound, clearest harpsichord (Dowd copy of a Blanchet, A=415Hz), and best production (no wrong notes or bad edits). Summary: first choice after it's already determined that you need a Leonhardt recording of the Goldbergs....

(who bought a copy on LP around 1980, another backup copy later, and one on CD more recently, lest any of them ever wear out...)

Riccardo Nughes wrote (August 28, 2001)
In a conference in Milan, some years ago, G.Leonhardt told about his first recording of the Goldbergs that he was still satisfied of his performance but the sound of the harpsichord was bad. In the same occasion he spoke about his first recording with N. Harnoncourt (and A. Deller) featuring BWV 54, BWV 170 and the Agnus Dei from Mass BWV 232 : he described as "horrible" and suggested to everyone not to buy it.

Donald Satz wrote (August 28, 2001):
[To Bradlry Lehman] The Leonhardt DHM can't be my best Leonhardt version unless I find it better than the Vanguard. As to when I'll have it in my possession, I assume that sooner or later it will show up on my radar. I try very hard to limit the web sites I buy from - financial considerations. I only stray when I'm very excited about a particular recording. That was the case when I bought a 2-CD set of Scheidemann organ music from Calcante Recordings. It's a feeling; when I have it, I make sure to track down the disc. I'm starting to feel that way about the Celine Frisch Goldbergs on Alpha and am anticipating reading Kirk's conclusions about her disc.

Jim Morrison wrote (August 29, 2001):
[To Riccardo Nughes] Now this comment by Leonhardt concerning his Deller recording surprises me because I think the music, though it is a bit, can I say, primitive, nevertheless has soul. Poor sound, that's true, and I imagine if they had made the record in the 1970's that the touch of each instrumentalist would be more varied and the overall interpretation more vigorous, but I still find the recording convincing and moving. In my limited understanding, the record sounds more like a Deller recording than a Leonhardt or Harnoncourt disc. Perhaps that's why Leonhardt took issue with it.

Riccardo wouldn't happen to know of any other comments that Leonhardt made about this recording, would he?

Philip Peters wrote (August 29, 2001):
[To Riccardo Nughes] LOL! I have it and I agree with Old Master Gustav. But it´s especially Deller who ruins the recording because as unique and deeply moving as he could be in his Dowland songs and other English repertoire he should never have tried his hand at Bach. It was just not his bag ;)) Still, as a curiosity I wouldn´t want to be without it.

Santu De Silva (Archimedes) wrote (August 29, 2001):
[To Bradley Lehman] Man, this had better be good. I just paid $27 for this. (IT's sort of fun trying to guess what things like "kartenhaber" are. Anyway, THEY seem to be happy with what I put in...)

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 29, 2001):
[To Santu De Silva] Oh, it's good! :) I just wish it were more widely available in the US; I did some searching on the web yesterday and didn't find anybody else who has it for sale. There might be, but I didn't find them.

Of course, at German Amazon the price is the same as for the Teldec: mid-price like the other DHM Leonhardt discs. It's the shipping cost that chews the money.

Maybe it will be reissued for another round, or maybe DHM will market their existing issue better outside Europe? Or perhaps something could come from the BMG group?

I caught it on CD on the budget label "Pro Arte" (Intersound from Minneapolis) and it says it was made in Japan, 1985. And before that I got it on LP’s on the budget label "Quintessence." That first LP was perhaps the best $3.98 I have ever spent....


Goldberg Variations BWV 988: Details
Until 1950 | 1951-1960 | 1961-1970 | 1971-1980 | 1981-1990 | 1991-2000 | From 2001
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Quodlibet in GV | GV for Strings
Discussions of Individual Recordings:
GV - Barenboim | GV - P.J. Belder | GV - E. Dershavina | GV - Egarr | GV - Feltsman | GV - C. Frisch | GV - Gould | GV - Hantaï | GV - R. Holloway | GV - J. Jando | GV - Jarrett | GV - Leonhardt | GV - V. Makin | GV - A. Newman | GV - S. Ross | GV Schiff | GV - R. Schirmer | GV - H. Small | GV - G. Sultan | GV - G. Toth | GV - Tureck | GV - Vartolo | GV - Verlet
Review: Goldberg Variations on Piano:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5
Review: Round-Up of Goldberg Variations Recordings:
Recordings | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Reviews of Individual Recordings:
GV - Cole | GV - Crossland | GV - Dershavina | GV - Egarr [Lehman] | GV - Egarr [Satz] | GV - Egarr [Bright] | GV- Hantai | GV – Hantaï (2nd) | GV - Haugsand | GV - Hewitt | GV - Holloway | GV- Ingolfsdottir | GV - Jando | GV - Leonhardt | GV- Lifschitz | GV - Newman | GV - Nikolayeva 3rd | GV- Payne | GV - Schepkin, Yudina & Serkin | GV - Schiff [ECM] | GV- Small | GV - Suzuki | GV - Toth | GV - Trich | GV - Tureck (Satz) | GV - Tureck (Lehman) | GV- Verlet | GV - Vieru | GV - Vinikour | GV - Weissenberg | GV - Zhu
The Quodlibet as Represented in Bach’s Final Goldberg Variation BWV 988/30 [by Thomas Braatz]

Gustav Leonhardt: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Discussions of Vocal Recordings:
BWV 232 - Leonhardt | BWV 244 - Leonhardt
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach’s Inventions & Sinfonias from Leonhardt | Leonhardt’s Goldberg on Vanguard
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
GV BWV 988 - G. Leonhardt
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8
Table of recordings by BWV Number

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Last update: ýSeptember 28, 2006 ý21:31:04