on 30 August 2009
Bach's 6 keyboard partitas date from 1726-1731 and are among his most performed pieces.The great Dutch harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt recorded these towering compositions twice and this was his second attempt.By the time of this 1986 recording,Leonhardt had dispensed with the austere approach he had in the 60's and 70's.This time around his playing displays greater flexibility,with more drive in the faster movements,yet there's still a wonderful dignity in the slower movements.
The harpsichord used for this recording is a copy of a 1704/1710 Mietke by William Dowd and sounds superb.The bass is strong,with the tenor/alto range magnificent and a clear but not harsh treble.It all sounds great in the Dutch masters hands and although repeats are omitted,the interpretation,engineering and bargain price tag more than make up for this.In fact,some people may find it easier to digest 95 mins of harpsichord music rather than 160 mins of it when all repeats are observed.
There is plenty for Bach enthusiasts to enjoy in these cd's - only in the minuet and gigue of partita no 1 as well as the fantasia of no 3 does Leonhardt play too slowly i feel but everything else is extremely well done.
If you are looking for a recording of this work with all repeats played then go for Benjamin Alard.