A Report on the Funeral for Gustav Leonhardt

January 25, 2012

Leonhardt playing the organ in the film, THE CHRONICLE OF ANNA MAGDALENA BACH (available on Netflix)

Though I had hoped to hear or see the proceedings online, I heartily admire the fact that cameras and recording equipment were not allowed at the funeral. Too often one-of-a-kind occasions like this one are treated primarily as something to be preserved and publicized rather than lived in the moment. I should have known that Mr. Leonhardt would have arranged things as they were.

A reader who was at the obsequies has very kindly sent me a link to his own description of what must have been an unforgettable event. Bert Shudi has also posted these valuable reflections on the master’s career.

UPDATE: The blogger who had provided the account of the funeral has seen fit to remove it. I apologize for any inconvenience. Herewith, however, the link to a stupendous video of a live performance of Bach’s funeral cantata by Leonhardt, with other star performers that you may recognize, in Amsterdam’s Waalsekerk. The German text and English translation can be found here. This inspiring music, lovingly recreated at the hands of Gustav Leonhardt seems as fitting memorial as any musician could hope for.

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