BACH: Goldberg Variations - Gustav Leonhardt
Can it be that this wonderful performance is 51 years old? As remastered here, it sounds as fresh as many more modern recordings, and its musical virtues haven't dimmed a bit. Gustav Leonhardt's bright-toned harpsichord lends his musically sturdy and always characterful interpretation unusual clarity of texture, and this pays huge dividends in the canons, which never sound studied and are remarkably easy to follow. There are times when I wish that Leonhardt had been more generous with repeats, as with Variation 14, for example, but I frankly prefer the anguished Variation 25 played through just once, at exactly this beautifully flowing tempo. Leonhardt really cuts loose in final group and finishes with a robust Quodlibet full of hearty humor and good spirits. The fact that the sound is mono really isn't important, though Artemis should have had the courtesy to identify it as such. If you love this work and haven't heard this performance, then you are missing something as important in its way as was Glenn Gould's famous first recording made a few years later.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com