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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gustav Leonhardt 1928 - 2012

General Director
James Wright
Gustav Leonhardt, who was probably the 20th Century’s greatest harpsichordist, died in January; he lived in Amsterdam. 

For those of you who can access it, there is a fine obituary in the January 28th Economist. Of course, it’s in the hardcopy magazine, too. Quoting from the obit: 

“…fortepianos were awful, the sound muffling all over the place when the hammer hit the keys… and modern grands were unspeakable. None had that direct pluck of plectrum on string for which he loved the harpsichord…”
Gustav Leonhardt

The harpsichord has long been a favourite instrument of mine, though I can’t play it. My dozen years or so of piano study as a youngster is no help at all!

Craig Tomlinson
Harpsichord builder
We have in our midst a very fine harpsichord builder, Craig Tomlinson, who lives in West Vancouver. He and his family are valued members of the Vancouver Opera “family” and we always use Craig’s harpsichords for our productions - music director Jonathan Darlington insists on it! 

A friend of mine commissioned Craig to build a harpsichord for him, and he just recently took possession of a really beautiful instrument and has begun lessons. Here’s to the early music movement’s health and a beautiful but very exacting instrument handed down to us over the centuries.

- James Wright
General Director, Vancouver Opera

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